Before you get all grossed out by the fact that I’m putting together a book list that focuses on worms, realize that I’m tailoring our homeschooling curriculum to pique the interest of a 5-year-old boy.
My son loves worms. His favorite part of our recent project to transplant a bush in our yard was the fact that we kept finding 6-inch earthworms wriggling out of the newly dug soil. (I did a fair amount of the digging, but I gave him the honor of relocating the earthworms.) All that to say, this is a subject that is close to his heart, and I decided to capitalize educationally on an interest that was already there.
Diary of a Worm – by Doreen Cronin
This was my son’s favorite of the worm-related books that we read together. It’s told from the perspective of a young worm, explaining the details of his daily life. It’s not what you’d call scientifically accurate (this worm goes to school and gets in trouble for eating his homework), but there are elements of a worm’s actual experience that are communicated (the fear of birds, for instance, or the fact that worms have no teeth). The best part of this book was its humor — my son was belly-laughing as we read it, and immediately asked that I read it again.
Wiggling Worms at Work – by Wendy Pfeffer
This engaging book (which features the artwork of Steve Jenkins), explores the life cycle of an earthworm, with a particular focus on why earthworms are important for the soil and the growth of crops. The book goes into what earthworms eat, how they move, and how they form egg sacs. My son was particularly interested in how worms move and the fact that they are boneless and can tie themselves in knots, while I found the ecological importance of earthworms to be rather fascinating.
An Earthworm’s Life – by John Himmelman
This book begins with a tiny earthworm emerging from its egg case, and it walks through the various steps in an earthworm’s life. The encounters between the worm and other creatures–a mole, a robin, and a young boy–are particularly engaging. The illustrations in this book are lovely, and it provides a wonderful introduction to the life of an earthworm.
Inch by Inch – by Leo Lionni
While the other books in this list focus on earthworms, this one features a cute green inch worm. Against the backdrop of Leo Lionni’s lovely illustrations, the inch worm explains to various creatures how useful he is, because he can measure things. Whether he’s measuring a robin’s tale or a heron’s legs, the inch worm measures his way through the story. He even rises to the challenge of measuring a nightingale’s song. It’s a sweet story, and provided connections for us with both science (our study of worms) and math (measurements).