224 words – lessons from The Very Hungry Caterpillar

by | May 29, 2021

I was sad to hear of the recent death of Eric Carle, best known for his immensely successful children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

If you’re a copywriter, the book has much to teach you. In only 224 words, Carle takes the reader on an emotional journey, without a wasted syllable. If only the average blog post or press release could communicate so much in such a small space. Other children’s books are similarly concise, with the Gruffalo hitting about 700 words, and Green Eggs and Ham about the same – although it famously uses only 50 different words.

Of course, these are all picture books, so the words don’t do all the work on their own. But it’s worth remembering how few words are really needed to get your message across – whatever your subject, or target reader.