I Can Only Draw Worms

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I Can Only Draw Worms
Will Mabbitt
Puffin Books
Bonkers! A book that can reduce two adults to fits of helpless laughter on a dull day has got to be worth something: it’s what Will Mabbit’s foray into picture books did to one reviewer and her partner. It’s billed as ‘an unconventional counting book’ and it surely is that, and a whole lot more. In truth I suspect pretty much anybody can draw worms, but only Will Mabbitt could make quite such a ridiculously and gloriously silly book as this one with its day-glo pink and yellow annelids wriggling all over it. Yes we’ve had wormy books before: Janet Ahlberg’s The Worm Book, Superworm from Julia Donaldson and Leo Lionni’s Inch by Inch to name but three; but nobody (to my knowledge) has given the reason, as the title proclaims, for devoting their entire picture book to them. In fact there is absolutely nothing else between the covers other than words of course. Other characters do crop up though; Worm SIX, is said to be ‘riding on a flying unicorn!’ Of course, no unicorn appears (you just have to imagine); instead, guess what? Mabbitt has drawn worm FIVE again. Hmm …

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and then has the audacity to go on to relate that worm SIX actually rides this unicorn off to meet the seventh worm who lives um, in outer space.
This Mabbitt guy clearly doesn’t know his cardinal numbers from his ordinal ones though, at least where worms are concerned (and as for whole and half numbers, let’s not even go there. If you doubt what I say then listen to this bit: ‘THERE’s BEEN A DREADFUL ACCIDENT.’ That whole thing about cutting a worm in half and getting two worms has just been disproved OUCH!: instead, all you get is two half worms … like this …

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Moreover, worm NINE has gone AWOL to the concern of the others (won’t even try counting them as I’ll get bogged down in the halves and wholes thingy.) Next, more craziness in the way of an identity mix-up and then along comes number 10 worm. And he (actually Will, take note, worms are hermaphrodite) is accompanied by the missing number NINE (back from that urgent loo break). Now let the counting proper – or rather, almost proper – begin …

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That’s it.
Sunglasses out and off you wiggle, and giggle! I’m off out to dig worms; but that’s another story …

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