I was given the book; ‘How To Eat Fried Worms’ by Thomas Rockwell, as part of the Amazon Vine review programme in exchange for an honest review.
Thomas Rockwell’s classic children’s book, ‘How To Eat Fried Worms’ is another book that I’ve read recently which was a staple of my childhood experience of books, and yet another book which up until today I had never read. In this case, unlike with Flat Stanley, it wasn’t because I hated it on principle because my brother liked it, it was simply because the title put me off.
To be honest, all these years later, the title still puts me off, but I felt it was my bounden duty to read and review it, given the fact that for most children, it is the gross title that delights them and makes them want to read it in the first place.
How To Eat Fried Worms did actually turn out to be a bit stomach churning. The thought of having to eat fifteen fried worms, one for every day of a bet Billy and his friend Tom have with their friends Joe and Alan, so that Billy can win fifty pounds to buy a mini bike with, still makes me feel a little ill.
But, I understand why bloodthirsty children with an appetite for all things gross, will delight in tantalising themselves with the descriptions of eating worms that liberally pepper this book, and which are so visceral to read.
For me, the joy of the book was in the sharpness of the writing, and the brilliance of the comedy, which even after forty years, has not become dull or outmoded.
The only thing I didn’t like, was that in this, obviously American book, the publishers had seen fit to turn the American money into English money. It is the only part of the book that jars and it really, really annoyed me.
Having said that, it is unlikely that the target audience will either notice this, or care.
I thought this was slightly too long for a chapter or transitional book, although it had a lot of the hallmark ingredients; short chapters, plenty of illustration and a good, clear font. The length is more than a chapter book would usually support, and some of the dialogue is a little colloquial for a newly confident reader, so perhaps it would be better for a slightly more mature reader.
As a book to read out loud to your children, or in class, this would keep them riveted to their seats in my opinion. It has little or no educational value, but would be hugely entertaining for all involved.
All the main characters in the book are boys, and it is marketed at boys in particular, but it would be perfect for boys and girls aged from about seven to twelve.