They Didn’t Teach THIS in Worm School by Simone Lia


They Didn’t Teach THIS in Worm School!
Author: Simone Lia
Published February 13th, 2018 by Candlewick Press

Summary: A hungry chicken (who thinks he’s a flamingo) and a quick-thinking worm set off on a madcap adventure — and forge an unlikely friendship.

Marcus is a worm, and a bird named Laurence who looks very much like a chicken is about to eat him for breakfast. So what does Marcus do? He strikes up a conversation, of course! But even after talking his way out of being eaten, Marcus’s troubles are just beginning: soon he is clinging to Laurence’s neck as the designated navigator on an absurd journey to Kenya, where his feathered companion dreams of finding happiness with other flamingos like himself. Except Marcus can’t actually read a map, and this bird is clearly not a flamingo. Will Marcus be able to get them both to Africa — or even manage to survive the day? Filled with kid-friendly illustrations, this is a buddy comedy that will have readers wriggling with laughter.

ReviewOh man! What a voice this book has. Marcus and Laurence are just hilarious and part of what makes them so funny is the very evident voice that both characters have. Marcus is a rule follower and is trying to figure everything out. Laurence is confused and so full of goals and ambition that are just not realistic. And the two of them on an adventure are just ridiculous and really did make me laugh out loud.

Also, at a deeper level, Laurence is also teaching us about identity. He may not look like a flamingo, but he knows he is. That is all that matters.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: As I was reading, the very first thing I thought of was how perfect this book will be for our late elementary readers who love Bird and Squirrel or Narwhal and Jelly and want to try a non-graphic novel. It is still hilarious and illustrated yet may be a ladder up for these students. Also, with really short chapters and hilarity, it would be a wonderful read aloud as well.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How did Marcus’s decision to start a conversation with Laurence change the course of the plot? What could have happened?
  • There are other animal characters throughout the book. Why do you think the character includes them? What is their purpose? How do they advance the story?
  • How did Laurence and Marcus finally make it to Africa?
  • How was Laurence different than what Marcus originally assumed?

Flagged Passages: 

Then, I dreamed I fell out of a can into a cereal bowl. Staring at me was a scruffy, fat bird who looked a lot like a chicken. It was a really good dream until it got tothe bird part. The bird had intense and menacing eyes.

The worst things was that the last part of the dream wasn’t a dream at all. I really had been in a can, and there really was a big fat bird staring at me!

What would you do if you were a worm and there was a bird two inches away from your face, looking at you with hsi beak open so wide that you could see his tonsils.

Maybe you would do what I did. I smiled a big smile and said in my most cheerful voice,


Read This If You Love: Bird and Squirrel by James Burks, Narwhal by Ben Clanton

Recommended For: 


**Thank you Candlewick for providing a copy for review!**

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