cover image Herman and Marguerite: An Earth Story

Herman and Marguerite: An Earth Story

Jay O'Callahan. Peachtree Publishers, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-103-6

Professional storyteller O'Callahan's (Orange Cheeks) tale of a worm and a caterpillar who become friends and rejuvenate an abandoned orchard probably plays better in the spoken version. As a picture book, it's pleasant but a tad undisciplined-wordy, digressive and suffering from an excess of exclamation points. The moral (believe in yourself and success will follow) treads a well-worn path and is served up by-who else?-a wise grandfather, who counsels his insecure earthworm grandson thus: ""Everyone has a gift, Herman. And when we use our gifts everything hums."" The enjoyment quotient is boosted considerably by the first-time illustrator's cheery torn-paper collages. Punctuating the text with sunny bursts of color, they infuse these pages with an amiable brio. A brief appendix attractively presents facts about earthworms and a few environmental tips. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)