Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Is it just my kid?


Or are all kids gaga over insects and dirt? I'm wondering if there is a genetic disposition for the love of entomology and soil? My dad, me, and my daughter? She isn't into dinosaurs or trucks (trains, bikes & boats that is a whole different deal), but all things insect and soil.

Looking for Odonata nymphs

Following the Ants at Bardini
My little entomologist

A little corner at Villa Strozzi

So what to do about the whole cocoon/chrysalis thing in The Very Hungry Caterpillar? You know, big important questions of the day. Despite Eric Carle's explanation below, I still change cocoon to chrysalis, just to keep it accurate. Doug keeps to cocoon and keeps the poetry. She'll learn to be flexible at least, unlike her mother apparently.

Eric Carle on the great Cocoon Chrysalis Debate
From the V. Occasional Newsletter called The Caterpillar Express

A number of readers of The Very Hungry Caterpillar ask,
Why does your butterfly come from a cocoon, not
a chrysalis? That’s a good question.
Here’s the scientific explanation: In most cases a butterfly
does come from a chrysalis, but not all. There’s a rare
genus called Parnassian, that pupates in a cocoon.
These butterflies live in the Pacific Northwest, in Siberia,
and as far away as North Korea and the northern islands
of Japan.
And here’s my unscientific explanation: My caterpillar is
very unusual. As you know caterpillars don’t eat lollipops
and ice cream, so you won’t find my caterpillar in any
field guides. But also, when I was a small boy, my father
would say, “Eric, come out of your cocoon.” He meant I
should open up and be receptive to the world around
me. For me, it would not sound right to say, “Come out
of your chrysalis.” And so poetry won over science!

Despite this egregious sin I still love Eric Carle, cocoon or chrysalis.


  1. This is lovely, because it does question why our children take up some things and dismiss others. It is also about the importance of learning with our children -whatever age they are - and through them rediscover what we may have missed the first time around.

  2. I love the total absorbtion and fascination they have with insect life, though the ability to crouch for many hours is not one that I have... There are some children who can't do dirt and insects AT ALL. Screaming blue murder if so much as a speck of soil lands on them and running from butterflies as though they are out to get them. Poor children I say, they are missing out.