VHC2

Like many other kids, The Very Hungry Caterpillar was one of my favorite books as a wee one. The 1969 children’s classic is not only recognizable by its title, but also by its vibrant artwork.

Eric Carle’s tale lives on with The Very Hungry Caterpillar Spin & Seek ABC Game, from University Games, which reinforces the book’s introduction to literacy, for kids ages 3 and up. The board game aims to teach kids the difference between capital and lowercase letters, as well as reinforcing some other early reading skills.

The are four playing pieces, each a character from one of Carle’s books, and a stack of 52 cards that have each letter of the alphabet as a capital and a lowercase. The other side of the card has a picture of an animal or object starting with that letter and the name of the animal spelled out. The game board features the alphabet from start to finish. The spinner has an inside ring of the numbers one through four, and an outside ring of the words “big” and “little.”

Each turn, a player flicks the spinner, and decides if he or she wants to go with the number spun or move to the next big or little letter. The player then goes to the pile of shuffled cards, picture side up, and finds the correct card corresponding to the spot he or she landed on. If the player chose correctly, he or she keeps the card. Whoever has the most cards at the end is the winner.

The game is as beautiful as the book, maybe even more so. Everything from the board, to the box, to the cards is illustrated in Carle’s style with bright colors and textured patterns.

In order to spread out all 52 cards at the start of the game, be sure to initiate play on a big table or the floor. The spinner also takes a bit of breaking in before it’s loosened enough to spin efficiently.

The game itself is fairly simple, making it easy for young kids to learn in a snap. I see a lot of room for families to add their own twists as kids get older. Instead of spreading the cards out next to the board, setting the cards across the room could add the challenge of a time restraint, or maybe each player has to spell the name of the object on the card they are trying to get.

Even with the rules kept as is, younger kids would definitely have fun learning the alphabet and recognizing letters, and several generations will be able to appreciate this spin to a classic book.