Review of ‘The Worm Who Knew Karate’
Written by Jill Lever. Illustrated by Terry Denton.
Publisher: Penguin Group Australia
Age Range: Early Childhood – Lower Primary
Themes: garden worms, karate, confidence, defence strategies, working hard, thinking creatively.
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My three year old considers herself quite the worm expert. She is the self-appointed ‘Worm Monitor’ at kindergarten and is extremely concerned with all things worm and worm farm. At this point let me say that I am talking about garden worms and compost works, not the variety which causes hushed whispers at the pharmacy counter, dividing up of chalky tasting chocolate and much washing and sunning of household linen. Worms, compost bins and kitchen gardens should be a part of every kindergarten and school environment as far as I am concerned (see here), particularly with ‘sustainability’ a cross curriculum priority in the Australian Curriculum and the Early Years Learning Framework.
‘The Worm Who Knew Karate’ is pure fun and fiction, not in any way an educational text about garden worms – but this is just as wonderful, because one must always start worm education by allowing students to scream ‘yucky’, ‘ewwwwww’ and laugh. Between ‘The Worm Who Knew Karate’ and ‘Yucky Worms’ – I have garden worm education covered.
Brian was a happy worm.
He lived in a beautiful window box.
He didn’t think he’d ever need to know karate.
Until one day…
From talented new author Jill Lever and long-time favourite Terry Denton comes this very original tale of one little worm and his quest to defend himself from ‘the early bird who catches the worm’.
I don’t know the story behind how Jill and Terry were ‘paired’ for this fabulously funny book (PudStar is convinced the author is ‘Jill’ from the Denton/Griffiths Treehouse books), but if I were a first-time author and was paired with Terry Denton, I would be screaming it from every rooftop in the CBD. Mind you, the text is an equal match for Denton’s always wonderfully offbeat, highly detailed, very funny illustrations. I mean who wakes up and thinks ‘I think I’ll write a book about a worm, called Brian, who learns karate’?
Ultimately this is a story of resilience and trying hard even in tough times. When Brian is exhausted from trying and not succeeding with his karate training, his teacher says to the entire class, ‘to know karate is to work hard and never give up…today we have seen courage – this is the true spirit of karate.’
Sometimes, in order to succeed, we need to consider our own unique talents and use them in creative ways – Brian certainly achieves this, and as a result, he survives the early bird who wants to catch the worm.
For more worm books see my review of ‘Yucky Worms’, my ‘Top 100 Books on Sustainability’ and my instructions on making a Worm Tower in your garden. My most recent article for Kidspot was also about worms – as you do – see here for this one. You too can have a self-appointed three year old Worm Monitor. For more FUNNY books – including this one see here and the Soundcloud of me this week on 612ABC is here, in which I talk about ‘The Worm Who Knew Karate’ – and that’s Pud below in the ABC green room, reading said book – and I didn’t even stage that photo!The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.