Review Blog

Sep 23 2019

The bookworm by Debi Gliori

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408893036.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Imagination, Dragons, Books, Reading, Families, Cautionary tale. Max thinks he might like a pet. Mum barely pauses from reading the newspaper to give a reason a pup will not be welcome. Over the next few pages, Max thinks about a different pet. Dad rejects a kitten, but Max persists, thinking of reasons for having a penguin, shark or dragon. Dragons of course, do not exist says his family, so that is out of the question. He thinks about a goldfish but rejects them thinking they are boring, and the same with flies, or wasps and birds. But when he finds a worm in the garden, he is thrilled. It fits well in the aquarium, and Max discovers that it likes reading. So each night the worm sits with Max and reads alongside the boy. Things are working out well until the worm begins to grow and do some mischievous things: chewing the pillow and making some awful smells. Spikes appear along its back and smoke pours out of the worm's head. The dragon flies off into the night but comes back to read before bedtime, even though Dad insists there is no such ting.
A very cute, enticing story will have many fans as Max trawls the usual list of things he wants as a pet. Excuses are given, reasons deduced, but still no pet appears. Only when Max finds a worm does he have a pet that he likes.
But has he got the pet he wished for and what will happen when a dragon appears in his bedroom? All good fun, underlying the family tradition of reading before going to bed, and promoting reading as an activity, this book will please the readers. Bright, bold illustrations cover each page, with lots of detail to keep sharp eyes amused.
I particularly like the endpapers showing the suburb in which Max lives, with its street lights and neat gardens, with a few pets appearing in other people's homes. And lots of dragon books for Max to read, reiterating the idea of a bookworm, an idiom which will tickle the funny bones of all readers.
Fran Knight

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