By Virginia L. Kroll © 1987
Issue: September, 1987
More than anything, Woolybear wanted to fly. He had wished that ever since he had hatched from his egg and seen the swifts swooping and the swallowtails soaring. Every time he saw a hawk aloft on the summer wind, he felt little and low. The only thing Woolybear could do with his fuzzy, banded caterpillar body was crawl along the ground.
For the rest of the season, Woolybear kept to himself. He munched hungrily on green plantain leaves and sky–gazed longingly.
Soon, nights grew longer and mornings grew colder. Monarchs gathered on Maples, mapping out their migrations. Birds disappeared in droves. Woolybear sensed that it was going to get very cold, and he knew that he must escape.
Woolybear worried. Where would he go? He couldn't travel far enough away from winter on his short legs. If he stayed here, however, he'd have nothing to eat. Already the leaves were turning brown and crumbling into dry, tasteless particles. And he would certainly freeze, for he didn't have a cave like Bear or a hole like Mole. Woolybear became frightened.
Suddenly, an idea came to him. Wasting not another moment, he began spinning and weaving with brown thread until he had fashioned a sleeping bag that fit his body perfectly. He pulled his head inside it and closed it tightly against the elements. As the first fall snowflakes danced dizzily about, Woolybear fell into a heavy sleep.
All winter long, the north wind bent branches and stung faces like needles. Icicles dripped where leaves used to rustle. The ground froze, and even the chickadees shivered. Sparrows shuddered, but Woolybear, snug in his sleeping bag, was safe from the cold.
As Woolybear slept, he dreamed that he was wafting on the wind, spreading orange and white wings. In wonderful imaginings, he lilted toward lavender lilacs and dashed around daffodils.
Time passed. Icicles melted, and the shadows shifted. Branches breathed and grew nimble again, sighing their stiffness away. Geese honked a returning welcome, and Bear left his lair. Sunshine warmed the world, and breezes blew caressingly.
Woolybear stirred. He felt uncomfortable in his sleeping bag, cramped and hot. Woolybear wriggled and writhed and squiggled and squirmed. Finally, he broke free.
Woolybear squinted at the sunlight, uncurled his body. He limbered his legs and unfurled his wings. Wings? Woolybear had wings! His wish had been granted! His dream had come true!
Woolybear took to the air and fluttered away, the dew of his dawning still glistening on his wings.
Directions How To Make A Woolybear Caterpillar And Cocoon
To make Woolybear in his sleeping bag, you will need a pencil, scissors, glue, and construction paper in black, brown and orange.
Cut 2 cocoons, one for back and one for front. Fold front on dotted line to make a flap. Turn over and apply a thin line of glue on edges only up to flap fold. Leaving top part, where flap is open, match cocoon pieces and press together. Let dry.
Cut 1 Woolybear pattern out of black. Draw eyes and mouth on as shown, with pencil. Cut mid–section from orange paper and glue to Woolybear.
When glue is dry, slip Woolybear into his "sleeping bag" for his wish filled winter's nap.