cover image Darwin’s Super-Pooping Worm Spectacular

Darwin’s Super-Pooping Worm Spectacular

Polly Owen, illus. by Gwen Millward. Wide Eyed, $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7112-7597-3

Owen presents a seldom appreciated corner of the life and work of Charles Darwin (1809–1882) in this true story of how earthworms wriggled their way into his heart. While others of the era believed worms to be pests, “Darwin KNEW worms were amazing.” With comic flair and a mix of narration and conversational text, Owen outlines the scientist’s experiments to discover their superpower, testing their sight, hearing, and sense of smell, and leading to a “spectacular” public exhibition that amuses with worms that dance to piano and compete in a “speed-eating challenge.” Upon finally discovering the important role worm castings play in global ecosystems, Darwin declares, “What a fantastic pile of poop.” Millward’s fashionable digital renderings have a sketch-like quality and personify the worms throughout. A fascinating slice of scientific history, the spirited tale concludes with facts and references. Ages 6–9. (Jan.)