Thomas Rockwell's How to Eat Fried Worms
Book review by Ramona Davis
15 worms. 15 days. $50.00. Could you do it?
Billy, Tom, Alan, and Joe are all neighborhood friends. One day, when Tom is denied the freedom of coming outside because he won't eat part of his dinner, Billy proudly proclaims that he would eat ANYTHING so as not to be denied the opportunity to play with his friends. Hearing this challenge, Alan and Joe bet Billy $50 that he won't eat worms.
With Tom (who finally gets to venture outside) egging him on, and the thought of a new minibike dancing in the back of his mind, Billy takes on the bet. The no-holds-barred, 15 day race, states that Billy can eat his worms anyway he can- that includes boiled, raw, fried, covered in ketchup, mustard, cornmeal, and even ice cream!
The only catch is that Joe and Alan get to choose the worms and they choose the largest, gushiest, plumpest ones that they can find.
While the title seems rather off-putting (though the title is what has always drawn me to the book), How to Eat Fried Worms is sure to delight young boys of any age.
It is filled with a realistic storyline (we all know at least one group of boys who has bet one another that they couldn't eat the grossest thing in the world), great conversations and hilarious chants to egg Billy on, and a moral behind the peer pressure of going with the crowd and being pressured into doing something against your better judgment no matter the cost (or the reward).
There's also the great theme of integrity when Joe and Alan try to trick Billy into missing a worm day; Billy does what he feels is right, and follows through on his promise to himself to fulfill the bet.
I read this book once when I was in elementary school, once as part of an Advancing Youth Development class, and again as a refresher for this review, and I still find it as the one title I can't resist. The story is entertaining, with characters that are believable, inventive, and lovable- the pen and ink drawings at the beginning of each chapter are also fun to look at...
...and the chapter headings are fun as well. Review continues.
How to Eat Fried Worms, by Thomas Rockwell, is a classic to behold for the pre-teen boy (or boy at heart) in your life. It is also a wonderfully quick read to add to any summer reading list!
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