24 pages
ISBN 1-895292-04-2
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Linda Mason Cressman
Translated by Jacqueline Dion Gosselin
Reviewed by Laurence Steven

Laurence Steven is Chairman of the English Department at Laurentian
University and author of Dissociation and Wholeness in Patrick White’s


Crico the caterpillar, sad because she fears that none of her insect
friends will come to her birthday picnic, is happy when they eventually
do come along. She celebrates with them and they present her with a silk
umbrella that Mr. Silkworm had taken longer than anticipated to
complete. After the party, she contentedly slides into her cozy new gift
and sleeps, so that one day she will become a beautiful butterfly.

This 24-page story directed at preschool children, although simple in
diction and abundant in short, concise sentences, delivers much more
than its simple exterior suggests. The young children who become
familiar with Crico’s initial loneliness and gradual transformation,
share the spotlight with the caterpillar. They learn that growth and
change are beautiful and harmless, and that friendships remain despite
change. The book is nonprejudicial and nonindividualistic. It depicts
the world of friendship, harmony, and security within which Crico’s
inevitable change takes place.

Cressman’s soft coloured-pencil illustrations make up three-quarters
of the book and bless it with gentle, yet vivid drawings that stimulate
visual activity. Crico as caterpillar and then Crico as butterfly make
up the front- and back-cover illustrations, respectively. In essence,
the covers explain the entire story.

The book accommodates francophone readers with a translation by
Gosselin located on the inside back cover. Whether reading in English or
French, children warm to Crico as Béland envelopes them within the
cocoon, protecting them from the harsh cold world.


Béland, Blanche Lesy., “Crico,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024,