Review of What About Worms!?

What About Worms!? [Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!]
by Ryan T. Higgins; illus. by the author; with additional illustrations by Mo Willems
Primary    Hyperion    64 pp.    g
5/20    978-1-368-04573-5    $9.99

Tiger is BIG. Tiger is BRAVE. Tiger is afraid of nothing...“except worms.” Tiger, a plush Calvin and Hobbes-ian animal with no taste for subtlety, tells us just what makes these creatures so terrifying: “Worms are slimy. Worms like to wiggle. And you cannot tell their tops from their bottoms!” Tiger is momentarily distracted from its fear by, successively, pretty flowers, an apple, and a book, but the remembered possibility of worms at every turn (“Flowers grow in dirt…Worms love dirt…”) sends Tiger screaming. In an entertaining twist, some tiger-fearing worms get over their own apprehensions to help with Tiger’s phobia: “Let’s give that nice tiger a worm hug!” Tiger’s overblown reactions make for hilarious page-turns in Higgins’s high-action illustrations. Early readers will find support in the repetitive text and relish the many exclamations and sound effects (“CRRR-UNCH!”). Framed by two spreads of groan-inducing puns from Willems’s Elephant and Piggie, Higgins’s easy reader is funny from top to bottom.

From the May/June 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Grace McKinney
Grace McKinney

Grace McKinney holds an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons University and reviews for the Horn Book Magazine. She works at a Montessori school in St. Louis, Missouri, and writes about children's books and Montessori on the blog Cosmic Bookshelf.

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