Muddle and Mo's worm surprise by Nikki Slade Robinson

cover image

Starfish Bay Children's Books, 2017. ISBN 9781760360306
(Age: 3+) Goats, Friendship, Food. Friends, Muddle and Mo are going to have lunch. Muddle collects a range of worms to add to the lunch basket: big and little, fast and slow. They then must take the basket up a rather steep hill to sit beneath the tree and eat lunch. Mo does not seem too happy about his Worm Surprise, particularly after his exhausting climb, but is pleasantly surprised when Muddle reveals that Mo's lunch does not contain any worms.
I love the illustrations: the goat and chicken are very cute and will appeal to the young people who read the book. The range of expressions on the animal's faces are a mine of information for the reader, and the movement will ensure the readers' eyes are drawn across the pages.
Initially I thought the story was showcasing comparative words such as big and little, fast and slow, and expected that to continue, but the story fades a little to the climax of Mo giving his friend a Worm Surprise that contains no worms. Children will certainly sympathise with the goat's possible worm salad, and be relieved when his friend makes an exception for his taste. Children will be able to talk about things they like and what they do and do not eat when talking about this book with others, and see that friendship means not imposing your taste on your friend. First published in New Zealand.
Fran Knight