cover image The Greedy Worm

The Greedy Worm

Jeff Newman. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4424-7195-5

When a large red apple falls onto the field above its underground home (“THUMP!”), a pink worm envisions an equally large apple pie that it can have all to itself. But as community-minded bugs approach, each dreaming of a portion, the worm inhales the entire apple (“CHOMP!”), reducing the fruit to its tall, skinny core. Deserted by the devastated insects, the now circular worm is easy pickings for a salivating brown bird that’s even bigger than the apple. When the other insects come to the rescue, delivering a decisive bite to the bird’s tail (“CRUNCH”) that sends it packing, the worm makes amends by planting the apple core’s seeds, ensuring there will be plenty of apples to go around—eventually. Digital artwork by Newman (Found) has the bold, bright fill-in colors and idiosyncratic detail (all the characters sport jaunty hats) that brings to mind birthday party caricatures; the story seems to be taking shape before readers’ eyes. The combination of savory onomatopoeia and eye-popping visual treatment makes a familiar story feel fresh and tasty. Ages 4–8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Feb.)