cover image DIARY OF A WORM


Doreen Cronin, , illus. by Harry Bliss. . HarperCollins/Cotler, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-000150-6

Cronin's beguiling journal entries by a worm who can write are as witty and original as the missives from her popular cows who can type (Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type). With his red baseball cap and good-natured humor, the titular hero is a winning American Everyboy, and young readers will identify with his escapades in part because they mirror their own. Bliss's (A Fine, Fine School) clever endpapers feature photos of the worm on his first day of school and on a family vacation to Compost Island, as well as his report card (he gets an "A" for tunnel, a "Pass" for Squirming). He makes his friend Spider "laugh so hard, he fell out of his tree," and he tells his sister that "her face will always look just like her rear end." But in addition to being like the hero, youngsters will also enjoy seeing their familiar world from a worm's vantage point. "It's not always easy being a worm," he says. One of the bad things is that a worm can't chew gum; one of the good things is that worms never get cavities (they have no teeth, he points out). At a school dance, a line of worms does the hokey pokey, putting their heads in and out and turning themselves about ("That's all we could do"). Bliss's droll watercolor illustrations are a marvel. He gives each worm an individual character with a few deft lines, and the varying perspectives and backgrounds enhance the humor of the text (especially a view from the sidewalk up, illustrating "Hopscotch is a very dangerous game," with a girl's sneakers about to descend). Inventive and laugh-out-loud funny, this worm's-eye view of the world will be a sure-fire hit. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)