Monday, June 20, 2016

Non-fiction Monday: We Dig Worms by Kevin McCloskey

We Dig Worms by Kevin McCloskey. unpgd. Toon Books, April 2015. 9781935179801. (Review from copy borrowed from public library.)

I meet daily with a small, mixed instructional group of fifth and sixth graders. Shortly after they set up a classroom mini-compost heap, I came across this book displayed in the public library located conveniently across the street from my school.

I thought the library staff had stamped the cover illustration and thought, "How unfortunate!" until I read it and realized that it was the stamp from the bottom of a paper bag. Closer inspection of the illustration revealed the edges and folds. Indeed, the art was rendered on a paper bag!

I am not sure I love the mixture of facts with the Q & A dialogue between a diverse group of young children and the worm, with an interested bluebird chiming in from time to time. This relegates the book to the fiction section where it might not be found, say by teachers looking to introduce a science unit. It would be a great book to use for this purpose. All the worm facts are there - anatomy & physiology and their important place in the ecosystem. 

The art is simply rendered; the brown paper lends texture but requires that the speech bubbles be painted white. This was a cool touch. There's a section at the back about how to read comics with kids, which is nice. However, there's no backmatter - suggestions for further reading or websites. Here is a link to a study guide aligned to Common Core Standards. Still, it's entertaining. My students dug it. I'm adding it to the collection.

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