Share this Post
It’s a celebration for friends, for worms, for you.
Usually when I write about books, I think about them first as a reader. That’s how it’s always been done. But this time, let me walk you through these pages through the eyes of my students. A whole library full of them, a whole bunch of huge-hearted, lovesick kids.
First, we look at the cover together, and it turns out that they have a lot to say.
What’s that fancy cursive say?
They are dancing in flower petals!
One of them is winking!
Oh, do you see it? They are making a heart!
They are making a heart.
And then I flip it over and we look at the back cover in tandem with the front, where the open-eyed worm is tightly clutching a bouquet of flowers. What’s that fancy cursive say, after all? “Loves”, of course.
The room erupts into squeals and awwws and smoochy sounds, and the story starts.
Because this is a story of Worm and Worm, we don’t need any other props on their stage. These two, framed by gently bowing blades of grass for scale and focus, are the stars. An uncluttered background, a spare scene, a declaration of love. That’s what matters.
Me, in front of the lovesick crew: Look how happy Cricket looks! Doesn’t he seem proud to help his friends?
A kid: Good thing he’s got extra arms so he can hold that preacher book and wave them over at the same time.
Isn’t that the best definition of a friend? Someone who has extra arms when you have none? Even Worm and Worm bend in agreement.
But Worm and Worm aren’t ready yet. It’s not quite time. They need a best beetle, one with a dapper cummerbund and a finely groomed mustache. They need bride’s bees, sharing petals.
“Now can we be married?”
But what about the rings? The dancing? The cake?
Worm and Worm refuse to let any of the nitty-gritty details dampen their spirit. They have love, and they will be married.
But, what about the groom? What about the bride?
When the story ends, the room erupts into as many squeals and awwws and smoochy sounds as it had before. But this time, our story is really beginning.
J.J. Austrian and Mike Curato have presented us with a call to love. A call to listen and to learn. A call to question the way it’s always been done, and a call to see a new way from the perspective of a worm.
A Worm, who loves Worm.