When asked in 2009 why "the Very Hungry Caterpillar" was so popular, its author Eric Carle answered:
"My guess is it’s a book of hope. That you, an insignificant, ugly little caterpillar can grow up and eventually unfold your talent and fly into the world. As a child, you can feel small and helpless and wonder if you’ll ever grow up. So that might be part of its success. But those thoughts came afterward, a kind of psychobabble in retrospect. I didn’t start out and say: 'I want to make a really meaningful book.'"