The Worm family

Tony Johnston, 1942-

Book - 2004

Unwelcomed by their neighbors because they are squiggly, skinny, and long, the Worm family moves from place to place before finally finding friends who accept and appreciate those who are different.

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Location Call Number   Status
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Picture books
Orlando : Harcourt c2004.
Physical Description
unpaged : ill
Main Author
Tony Johnston, 1942- (-)
Other Authors
Stacy Innerst (illustrator)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

"Rejoice in who you are! Rejoice in who everyone else is!" trumpets this uplifting tale of a dauntless Worm family. Seven Worms, all "highly skinny and squiggly and long," love each other but are chased from every place they set up housekeeping. Buggy neighbors, some aphids "bulgy and squat and green as leaves" and caterpillars "glossy and bossy and striped like mints," react with horror when the Worms move in. Each time, the Worms slide into their carrot-shaped car and search for greener pastures. Even though they sing a confident refrain ("We are Worms and we are proud!/ We are long and we are loud!"), they soon find it hard to keep their chins up: "`We don't have chins,' said Blanche./ `Never mind,' said Mother, `pretend.' " The Worms' chestnut-brown skin and dark hair, predilection for jazz and beat poetry, and attempted migration forge analogies between them and subordinated racial and ethnic groups. Nothing so obvious is stated, though; readers of Johnston's Any Small Goodness and the bilingual My Mexico can draw their own conclusions. Innerst's (M Is for Music) antic oil paintings, which picture the Worms standing tall like fingers or curling in graceful esses, recall Barry Root's rocking and reeling imagery for Brave Potatoes, another spirited tale of self-actualization. Ultimately the worms stake a claim ("The worm stops here!" shouts Uncle Herm) and make some friends. Johnston and Innerst don't claim the Worms' troubles are over, but they show the amiable family's unity and imply the irrationality of prejudice. Ages 3-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 1-3-A unique take on prejudice. The seven-member, peripatetic Worm family is very enthusiastic about its worminess. "Oh, joy! We're Worms!" is their self-affirming mantra, the first two words spelled out with their twisty bodies in Innerst's clever oil paintings. However, wherever they reside, the other families of spineless-but-armed neighbors rebel and throw weird things (valises, toothbrushes) to urge the Worms to move on. Johnston's vocabulary is challenging-"flumped," "jubilate," "regaled"-and she portrays the Worm family as not only proud but also loud, making this strange picture book tough to pigeonhole as a comprehensible lesson for youngsters. Still, there's supplemental value to this nonstory for adults to help kids realize that "each individual is different but compatible," although the "glorious" bit seems rather much.-John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Despite being different from their shiny neighbors, the Worm family is happy being who they are and so, instead of packing up and moving away, decide to stay put in order to get to know their neighbors in the hopes of teaching them just how special they are.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Unwelcomed by their neighbors because they are squiggly, skinny, and long, the Worm family moves from place to place before finally finding friends who accept and appreciate those who are different.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The Worm family loves being wormy. They're skinny--they're squiggly--they're very long--and they sing loud worm songs. They're nothing like their glossy, bossy, buggy neighbors. And the neighbors don't like thatone bit. What are the Worms to do? Jump back into their skinny car and hope to find nicer neighbors somewhere else? Or stay put--and show the world the Glory of Worm?In a tale both warm and quirky, a family of merry, down-to-earth worms proves that being different is truly grand. They may not fit in, but they carry on, doing things they love with the family they love--and finally find some fuzzy-wuzzy neighbors who like them just as they are. Oh joy! They're Worms!

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The Worm family may be different, but they are proud of being worms.