In this toddler-targeted picture book, author Christine Licciardello explores Casey the Caterpillar’s rich emotional life and introduces her audience to a potentially life-enhancing concept: the idea that talking about our feelings is the most effective tool we have for understanding their power in our lives.
Casey the Caterpillar is a guide for children who are ready to begin the journey of exploring their feelings. Cute, with an engaging smile and 12 arms – or are they legs? – Casey is a delightful foil. With a simple text, this picture book invites children to journey with Casey through his day. Along the way, we learn when Casey feels happy, mad, sad, lonely and proud. At each stage, toddlers are asked to share memories of when they’ve experienced similar feelings. For example: “Casey feels happy today. His mom is taking him to the park. When do you feel happy?” or “Casey feels sad today. He can’t find his favorite toy. When do you feel sad?”
Clearly, Licciardello and illustrator Lyle John Jakosalem respect and understand toddlers. Their storybook is playful, interactive and teaches a useful lesson. Unfortunately, the illustrations don’t rise to the level of the text; they have a two-dimensional feel, with Casey positioned similarly from page to page, rather than appearing in a more animated fashion. (It’s also a minor misstep that Casey’s eyes are orange on the first page and blue in other places.) More expressive art would enhance the book’s appeal.
Nonetheless, this simple picture book provides a worthy service: It’s a helpful tool for encouraging children to talk about their emotional lives in new ways — an admirable goal for readers of any age.
Also available as an ebook.