Worm Loves Worm – Perfect Picture Book Friday and Diversity Day

wormTitle: Worm loves Worm

Written by: J. J. Austrian

Illustrated by: Miike Curato

Published by: Balzer & Bray, Jan 5th, 2016

Themes: celebration of love, marriage, wedding, worms, equality

Ages: 3-7

Opening:

Worm loves Worm.
“Let’s be married.”
says Worm to Worm.

Synopsis:

A worm meets another worm and falls in love. One proposes; the other accepts and the worms want to get married straight away. Their insect friends though, insist that things be done properly, as they have always been done, with: best beetles and bride’s bees, cake  and of course a white dress and tuxedo. But who will wear what. Despite their friends insistence on tradition, Worm and Worm decided they can both be bride AND groom because it doesn’t matter.

The last lines are sublime.

Why I like this book:

I LOVE this book. This is the perfect picture book, truly. The message is simple, profound, unusual, relevant for kids and adults. Funny and adorable. Everyone should read this Austrian explains through simple dialogue between Worm, Worm and their entourage, how  sometimes we just must change “how it’s always been done,” and it is not difficult. Why? The age old message, because love matters more than traditions. Congratulations, John and Mike, on Worms’ love story and wedding. Yes, buy this for Valentine’s day, but buy it anyway for your kids and classrooms!

Mike Curato’s illustrations bring each character to life, especially the worms. I love how the rings can be worn as belts above their bumps. It made me think of the wonderful story of Edie and Thea, who wore rings as broaches because of the non-accepting prevailing attitudes in the 60’s towards lesbian couples. The choice of leaving lots of white space hones the readers’ focus on the protagonists and their willingness to work with their friends’ wedding proposals yet their uncompromising stance of love is what matters.

Mike Curato dedicated the book to his husband Dan, whom he married in 2013 right after same-sex marriage became legal in Washington State. He finished illustrating the book in February of 2015, four months before the Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage was legal for all citizens. Maybe I am reading in too much, but I sense this personal appreciation of the message of equality in all these brushstrokes!

Activities/resources:

Certainly on one level the story can be read as tackling the subject of same sex marriage, or asexual marriage, with fun and a feather-light touch. This will go over many kids heads and I would only address it if young readers bring the subject up. Children are naturally tolerant and will accept this message without questioning.

I shall definitely be recommending it to our elementary school library. Great debut from Austrian.

Check out my interview with Mike Curato here. 

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website. 

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11 Responses to Worm Loves Worm – Perfect Picture Book Friday and Diversity Day

  1. Patricia says:

    This looks like a Fabulous book, Joanna. Can’t wait to read this soon!

  2. I love your enthusiasm for this story! I want to read it! It sounds funny and packs a subtle message. You are right, children are neutral and many won’t understand or care. What a great find. Sorry, I missed your review last Friday. Thought only a few had published them.

  3. Just read & loved this too, Joanna! It hits all the right notes, and the illustrations are adorable. Love those worms 🙂

  4. When a writer comments that they wish they wrote a book, I know I have to read it. What a great and enthusiastic post about a very special book.

  5. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    I, too, love this book. Great pick!

  6. Joanna, I’m so glad to know about this book! What a creative way to illuminate the message that love matters more than anything else! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  7. Worms! Brilliant choice of characters! And Mike is such a lovely fella!

  8. Keila Dawson says:

    This book is ingenious. Didn’t know there could be a personal story behind the story. All the better!

  9. Can’t wait to read this…. and not one library in our system has it yet! I love the conundrum of who wears the worm tux (given worm biology)

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