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From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Watching a caterpillar grow into a butterfly renewed her faith.


My literacy group could use some more volunteers,” a friend told me shortly after I retired from teaching prekindergarten. “Would you read to kindergarteners once a week?”

Would I? I jumped at the chance. I still had a ton of children’s books. I also had a great sour-cream cookie recipe, handed down from my mom, that I thought would add a sweet note to the stories.

I made cutout cookies to accompany each book. When I read the kids The Mitten, I made each child a mitten-shaped cookie with his or her initial on it. I told them about the white monogrammed mittens I had worn as a child.

I covered bear-shaped cookies with chocolate icing for our reading of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

For The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I brought in a caterpillar arm puppet. The children fed it felt food while I read, and at the end of the book, it shed its cocoon and turned into a yellow butterfly. Before I gave out the cookies, I asked the kids what shape they thought I’d made. They guessed correctly—butterflies!

One of the teachers told me once that there was little the kids looked forward to more than our story time together, but their enthusiasm was the real treat for me.

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