We haven’t had a cold winter, and the garden already looks like spring, with bulbs bursting forth and the veg patch yearning for some digging. And so it was this week that Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss seemed like just the thing to get us in the mood for some serious spade work.
Diary of a Worm follows the highs and lows of life as a worm over one spring and summer. There are entries every week or so made by the son in a family of worms as he goes about attending school, playing with his friends, and getting up to mischief, just like any young worm (or child).
We learn about the perils that face worms around the world, e.g. what can happen when fishing season starts or what can be life-threatening when kids start doing hopscotch above you. We get to see what it’s like playing with spiders, or trying to make friends with ants. We are made to think about what life is like without any arms or legs.
With no overarching story, what will keep kids turning the pages is the book’s humour, and the surprising observation that life as a worm would appear not to be all that dissimilar from life as a kid. There are tricks to be played, sisters to annoy, dreams to be dreamed.
If this book were slightly repackaged I think it would be a big hit as an early reader; the text is just the right level, sentences are short, the diary format creates an inbuilt momentum to keep reading. By repackaging I mean perhaps producing it in a slightly smaller, hardback version – something that looks more “grown up” thank a picture book. At my weekly bookswap with 6 and 7 year olds, all of whom have been learning to read for about a year, year and a half, I’m realising that lots of them don’t want to choose a book that looks like a picture book, because they think such books are for little kids only.
Given this week’s big announcement about the International Edible Book Festival, we couldn’t resist making another cake, this time inspired by Diary of a Worm. Yes, our is in eligible, but maybe it will inspire you to create your own Edible Book to enter into the competition…
The girls made a basic chocolate sponge. Nothing so exciting in that, I agree. But then they transformed it into a patch of muddy soil riddled with worms. They used:
All the various “soil components” were sprinkled over the cake, and then worms wriggled their way to the surface.
The girls enjoyed eating the leftover “mud” quite a lot!
If I were a worm, I wouldn’t mind living in this place!
As you can see, the girls didn’t mind getting to eat the cake either!
Whilst creating our cake we listened to:
Who would have guessed worms were so inspirational when it comes to decent kids’ music!
Other activities we could have enjoyed alongside Diary of a Worm include:
Do you love or loath worms? Do you find the idea of eating mud and worms rather exciting or stomach churning?