Just Imagine

Christopher’s Caterpillars

About the Book

Christopher Nibble and his friend Posie are keeping six hairy caterpillars as pets. The look after their pets carefully but, one day, the caterpillars disappear! Christopher and Posie turn detective and, with the help of Mr Rosetti, they solve the mystery.

Christophers Caterpillars is a charming story with cross curricular links to science. Christopher and Posie are endearing characters and the story looks at change in an engaging way.


Before Reading

This activity offers a way of  activating children’s prior knowledge about caterpillars.

True or False?

Ask the children to discuss the following statements in pairs and decide whether they are true or false. Are there any that you are unsure about? Encourage the children to explain where their knowledge has come from. Talk about how you could check and find the answers.

  • Caterpillars drink milk and eat chocolate buttons.
  • Caterpillars wear woolly socks.
  • Caterpillars like playing football.
  • Caterpillars like to climb.
  • Caterpillars make good pets.
  • Caterpillars like eating dandelions.
  • Caterpillars need to use a hairbrush.

During Reading

  • Read the first page together. Discuss the children’s experiences of gardening. Have they ever grown anything?
  • How does Christopher feel when he discovers the caterpillars have been eating his prize winning dandelions?
  • Posie has the idea to keep the caterpillars as pets. Discuss what makes a good pet. Can you think of any reason why a caterpillar might not make a good pet?
  • What do you think of Christopher and Posie’s list of the things they need to look after caterpillars? How could it be improved?
  • Read the page which ends with the sentence; ‘He told them how to look after their new pets so that they knew exactly what to do.’ Ask the children to work in groups of three with one in role as Mr Rosetti. Use the list on the facing page to tell the others how to look after the caterpillars.

Read up to the point where the caterpillars disappear.

  • What could have happened to them?
  • Think of as many different possibilities as you can.

How do you think Christopher and Posie feel when they find out that their caterpillars have disappeared?

After Reading

Share the words below with the children. They are all words which could be used to describe a character. Which words would best describe Christopher? Ask the children to work in pairs to put them in order from most to least relevant. Can they use the word that is most relevant in a sentence, e.g. Christopher is determined because ….

  • determined
  • careful
  • naughty
  • thoughtful
  • caring
  • kind
  • cheerful
  • grumpy
  • sensible

Work in groups to create a poster that explains how to look after caterpillars.

What kind of food do guinea pigs like to eat? Carry out some research then create a menu of tempting treats for caterpillars which would stop them eating Christopher’s dandelions.

Look back at the true and false statements from Before Reading. Has reading the book changed your mind about any of these or confirmed what you knew already? Share any questions you still have about caterpillars and work together to find out the answers. Use your information to create a page for an information book explaining how caterpillars change.

Create your own beautiful butterfly paintings

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