The Worm Whisperer by Betty Hicks, illustrated by Ben Hatke


        The Worm Whisperer by Betty Hicks, illustrated by Ben Hatke, Roaring Brook Press, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-14820-9

Format:  paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5

Genre: Realistic fiction

What did you like about the book? It’s impossible to dislike Ellis Coffey, a fifth grader who is trying to help his struggling family make ends meet. Ellis loves animals, and hopes to enter a Woolly Worm caterpillar in an annual race in order to win $1,000 in prize money. This money would help pay for his father’s medical treatment, and assist his mom who is working three jobs to help the family survive while his dad is out of work due to a back injury. Ellis is also the class clown, a role he enjoys, but he sometimes feels as if his classmates don’t understand him when he is trying to be serious. The story has humorous parts, but Ellis’ burdened heart is evident throughout and readers will sympathize with his love of animals and his concern for his family.  The ending will both surprise and satisfy readers. This sweet story is definitely a winner.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I liked everything about this book.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Read Alikes? Recommend to readers who enjoy stories about animals. Also recommend The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden.

Who should buy this book? Elementary schools and public libraries should consider purchasing this book.

Where would you shelve it ?  Middle-grade fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Not necessarily, but definitely recommend it to young readers.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Date of review: December 28, 1017

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