How to eat worms

posted in: Doreen Cronin, Harry Bliss | 16

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:

  • Crushed Oreos (with the middles taken out)
  • Crushed Bourbons (with the middles taken out)
  • Bits of Flake chocolate bar
  • Chocolate “Cow Lick” (essentially a chocolate powder)
  • Sweet Tobacco (actually coconut covered in cocoa, in the shape of tiny twigs, or even worm casts!)
  • Chocolate rocks
  • Chocolate leaves (we made these ourselves by painting melted chocolate on a selection of leaves from the garden. Once hardened we simply peeled the real leaves off)
  • Chocolate nibs (basically bits of chocolate in knobbly lumps)
  • Real liquorice sticks – these are in fact twigs, real twigs! We also wanted to use some cassia (cinnamon bark) but discovered we had run out at home.
  • Gummy Worms

  • 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:

  • Worms by Pencilhead and the Playground Punks. This one is actually about eating worms!
  • Early Worm by Rocknoceros
  • Vagabond Worms by Kindiependent
  • Worms by Ratboy Jr.
  • Brown And Lonely Worm by Caspar Babypants
  • Worms by Eric Ode (Move over Mr Bloom!)

  • The Mighty Worm by Ralph’s World

  • 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:

  • Making an articulated worm out of left over plastic easter eggs – see this tutorial at Sandy Sandler’s blog (and remember it for Easter next month!)
  • Creating worm pencils toppers using this tutorial from Danielle’s Place (you’ll need to scroll down to find the worm).
  • Being scientists! How Stuff Works has several science activities with worms that would be interesting to try.

  • Do you love or loath worms? Do you find the idea of eating mud and worms rather exciting or stomach churning?

    16 Responses

    1. Iza Trapani

      You are just so creative! I have no problem eating chocolate mud and gummy worms. But spiders are a whole different story… πŸ™‚

    2. Donna McKinnon

      Aww…I have a real fondness for Diary of A Worm! I don’t think I have a copy, but I used to recommend it all the time in the bookstore. I also used to make ‘dirt’ for my nieces…chocolate ice cream with crushed oreos (is there anything they can’t do), with a generous helping of gummy worms throughout. Your creation is far more involved. Looks tasty!

      • Zoe

        Thanks Donna and Iza for your lovely comments. Now spiders… I agree, that would be more challenging than gummy worms!

    3. Alice

      Lovely idea but worms turn my stomach ever since my brother used to chase me with them when I was little so I’m afriad I’ll have to pass on that cake!! My son, on the other hand, would love it!!

    4. Zoe

      I completely understand where you are coming from Alice! But kids often do get a kick out something just ever so slightly yucky don’t they πŸ™‚
      Zoe recently posted..How to eat worms

    5. choxbox

      What an idea!

      I would not mind eating the mud at all (in fact ate the real stuff too as a kid too apparently) but worms – err.. I can safely blame my vegetarian habits πŸ˜‰

    6. Baby Shoes

      Those “worms” took me back a few years. I used to love gummy sweets of all kinds. Next time I’m out shopping I’m going to get a bag and re-live my childhood!

      • Zoe

        Robyn, yes you can, yes you can! I’m sure of it. Remember, all entries will be anonymous until after judging takes place – so give it a go and enter πŸ™‚

      • Zoe

        I LOVE it Jen! Thanks so much for sharing – has put a big smile on my face first thing this morning.

    7. Melissa

      There is also “Diary of a Fly”. We have all 3 out from our library this week. My boys, aged 2.5 and 4 both love them. I’m using them to help the 4yo with sight words (fly, worm, spider, to start with). Great picks!
      Melissa recently posted..Thing A Week*

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