Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.~~attributed to Mark Twain

So I propose changing the title of this book to “The Damn Hungry Caterpillar.”  That’s much more catchy, doncha think.

Anyhoo….the Japanese version is called “Harapeko Aomushi”

Harapeko is kind of a slang way to say “hungry.”

It’s not a word you use in a polite situation.  It’s the kind of word your four year old yells at you.

The book also used “Peko Peko.”  Another slangy way to say “hungry.”

Mama!!!!!! PEKO PEKO! is what your toddler might scream.

Moving on to the word “Caterpillar.”  It’s “Aomushi” in Japanese.  Literally:  Blue Bug.  Yep.  Even though it’s green.

Japanese does this a lot.  It’s not a green apple.  It’s a blue apple.  It’s not a green light.  It’s a blue light.  Yep.  No kidding.


Japanase people love Eric Carle.  He’s as big here as he is in the United States.  Not all beloved western writers and illustrators are beloved here in Japan.  For example, Dr. Seuss never caught on. (His books exist, but I don’t think he is well known at all, and definitely not beloved.)

But Eric Carle is a big thing in Japan.  He even teamed up with a Japanese writer to create a special book half in English and half in Japanese.  It’s called “Where are you going?  To see my friend.”

The Harapeko Aomushi can be found here.


An actual sighting of the very hungry caterpillar. Our roving reporter asked him “What will you eat next?” and he replied, “No comment,”