Posted in Preschool Reads

Book Review: Diary of a Worm, by Doreen Cronin/illus. by Harry Bliss (Joanna Cotler Books, 2003)

diary of a worm

Recommended for ages 2-6

A young worm journals his daily life, writing about his friends, his family, and the pluses and minuses of being a worm.  His observations are often very funny, as when he talks about spending the day above ground with his family after a rainstorm, and then notes, “Hopscotch is a very dangerous game”, with illustrations from a worm’s point of view. The story includes facts about earthworm behavior that gives young audiences a fun lesson in science: earthworms dig tunnels that help the earth breathe; worms cannot walk upside down, and worms have no teeth being just a few fun factoids to take away.

The artwork adds to the appeal of the book. Mr. Bliss uses watercolor and ink illustrations to bring Worm, his family and friends to life; while not overly anthropomorphizing them, he does infuse them with personality. The worm’s-eye view of the world provides a different point of view that young audiences will appreciate, and could lead to a good post-storytime discussion of how things look different from a worm’s point view as opposed to a human’s. The text looks almost like a printed font, and the entries are dated, like a real diary would be. The endpapers are set up like a scrapbook or diary, with photos of Worm’s friends, family, and accomplishments – report cards, a web made for him by his friend, Spider, a comic strip – “taped” to the pages.

The “Ðiary Of” series includes Diary of a Fly; Diary of a Spider; and Diary of a Worm.

A Wiggling Worms/Garden read-aloud would be a fun idea for the Spring. Diary of a Worm may be a tricky read-aloud if done conventionally, as there is a lot of activity within each page. Bringing in puppets may be a fun way to accomplish a fun read-aloud, with assistants or another librarian acting out with puppets of worms, spiders, and flies, while the librarian narrates the journal entries. Amazon offers a Diary of a Worm & Friends Finger Puppet Playset that would connect the puppet show to the book even further. An after-story discussion about worms would involve children, inviting them to share what they have learned about worms after reading the book. A fun craft would let children make worms out of modeling clay, which they could take home. Scholastic has a Diary of a Worm DVD that may be fun viewing for younger audiences.

Diary of a Worm has received numerous awards and accolades since its publication, including designation as a School Library Journal Best Book for Children (2003).

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Author:

I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading (http://whatchareading.com). I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (http://www.onwednesdays.net/), where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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