Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Worms by Bernard Friot - NO

Friot, Bernard   Worms  Illustrated by Aurelie Guillerey. 26 unnumbered pages. Kids Can Press, 2015 (originally published in France, 2010). $15.95. PICTURE BOOK

A young boy, the son of a factory owner, is obliged to join his father's small formal dinner party with the senior executives. So bored! When he is asked to bring in the salads, he impulsively adds some worms he keeps in the back of the fridge for fishing bait, one to each plate. Then it's not so boring anymore, but at what cost?. The story covers this one prank, and though it may be humorous to see how the adults deal with the situation without disrupting the meal or their boss, I find the episode disturbing. The stylized drawings and setting make it feel from the 60s, portraying a high society to which most kids today won't be able to relate. This boy is clearly struggling under his father's stern edicts, but he doesn't evoke sympathy from the other adults nor from the reader. To the last, each of the senior executives' faces appear only smug and revengeful at the end when the boy must eat his own worm. As for the reader, I don't feel anything for him either. He is a poor rich kid who laughs at others' discomfort.

EL (1-3) - NO. Reviewed by P.K.Foster, teacher- librarian

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