Friday, March 18, 2016

Small Readers: The Worm by Elise Gravel

I was a little doubtful when I first heard about this series, but having read it I am completely on board with its unique layout and subject.

The series, Disgusting Critters, features a number of "critters" from head lice to...worms!

The endpapers of this title are nicely wormy, with cheerful pink worms squirming across the page. A friendly pink worm greets readers and we learn many interesting facts, with longer vocabulary (skeleton, invertebrate, photoreceptors, etc.) highlighted boldly in the text. As the simple information is presented on the left side of the page, the worm carries on a running commentary on the right.

The art really makes this story. The background is a plain light green and brown, but shows up the pink worm nicely. Not only are its comments hilarious, but the accompanying art adds another humorous dimension. On the spread where we learn about earthworm vision (they have no eyes but sense light with photoreceptors) the worm buries its head in a bag, saying "No eyes? that can't be true. I'm sure I had some eyes around here somewhere. Hmm. Let me look..."

Audience on this one is a little tricky. The book is a trim size, slightly shorter than the average easy reader, but about the same length. The simple text also lends itself to the easy reader designation. However, it does have some significantly challenging vocabulary. On the other hand, it's likely to be lost in a typical juvenile nonfiction section because of the smaller format. On the whole, I'd put it in an easy reader nonfiction section, assuming you have one, and probably just in easy reader fiction if not. Fans of Elephant and Piggie will be attracted by the comic format and humor and nonfiction readers will enjoy challenging themselves to learn the facts on each page.

Verdict: A fun start to a delightful new series which I wish I'd discovered sooner. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781770496330; Published 2014 by Tundra; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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