Just a Worm

Greenwillow. Mar. 2023. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780063212565.
PreS-K–Boyd takes readers on a journey through a spring garden as a worm tries to discover what makes it special. Along the way, it speaks to various bugs and insects about their own talents before finding its own. The book offers little information about worms themselves (only a handful of pages speak to worm’s talents). Facts offered about the various bugs in the garden tend toward superficial knowledge that many young readers will already know, without answering natural questions that may arise in reading. For instance, ladybug tells worm, “I protect plants by eating insects, like aphids.” Rather than sharing more details about why aphids are harmful to plants, the dialogue jumps back to what worm eats. Back matter offers a limited glossary of only four words and a handful of worm facts, as well as instructions for a beautiful (though only tangentially related) butterfly craft. The information works best with preschoolers, who will love the standout in the book: gorgeous paper quilled artwork, which makes the garden jump off the page. Worm going about its business is a funny character to watch, and children will simply enjoy the book for its beauty.
VERDICT A lovely first work, and a talent to watch, Boyd only needs a stronger story to balance the knock-out art.

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