Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer by Carol Brendler, illustrated by Ard Hoyt
Winnie loves earthworms. She knows all sorts of facts about them, pulls them around in her wagon, and even races them. But when the county fair rolls around, she realizes that there is no category for her beloved worms to compete in. She speaks with three neighbors. One is growing corn for the fair and needs a good fertilizer. Another is raising chickens and needs the right feed to make them the best egg layers. And the third is raising puppies and needs something to get their coats shining. She makes a deal with each of them that if she finds the answer to their needs they will share the prize with her. Then she uses her worms to help with the corn, the corn to help with the eggs, and the eggs to help with the shiny coats. It’s a clever solution from a bright, scientific girl.
I love any book that breaks with the stereotype of girls not liking worms, dirt or animals. Winnie is a great protagonist for a picture book because she shatters that myth. She holds and hugs worms with delight. I also appreciate how intelligent she is and how she solves her own problems by using her brain.
Brendler’s text is fun to read aloud. She has taken a traditional tale format and modernized it. Readers will find themselves in a traditional format and be surprised, which is delightful. Hoyt’s illustrations are funny, sometimes frenzied, and wiggly with worms. Any worm haters out there will love the reaction of Winnie’s cat as it grimaces about the worms she loves.
A strong heroine in a modern picture book, this wiggly mass of worms is loads of fun. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from library copy.