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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer, written by Carol Brendler and illustrated by Ard Hoyt. Farrar, Douglas & McIntyre. 2009. $18.95 ages 4 and up

"Winnie Finn was earthworm crazy. She turned over stones all around Quincy County in hopes of meeting squirmy worms. After a rain, Winnie found worms on sidewalks and coaxed them back into their holes."

Winnie is one of those kids who could convince you to take up worm farming yourself. She loves the crawly critters and lavishes them with attention and love. She searches them out from all of their hiding places and takes them for rides in her trusty wagon. She knows all there is to know about them and wonders if she might enter her spectacular specimens in the County Fair.

Mr. Abernathy's response is quick and final...'nonsense!' He wants to enter his corn but needs fertilizer to make it grow. My Yamasaki-O'Sheridan says it would be 'silly' and not anything like her own plans to enter her Plymouth Rock Hens...all they need is good feed. Mr. Peasley says he's quite sure there is no prize for worms, but he thinks his Afghan pups might take the prize...if only their coats were shinier. Winnie Finn can solve all of their problems...and you know it has to do with WORMS!

Off she goes, project in mind and using all her knowledge of worms and the work they do! Each county fair participant is delighted with the results of Winnie's hard work and advice. Guess what? Winnie gets the perfect prize without entering her wonderful worms in the County Fair after all!

And now she has more work to do!

What a great story to share with kids while giving them an insight into the life of an earthworm and its role in making the earth a better place. An author's note adds the requisite additional incentive needed to get some avid young scientists and environmentalists looking into starting a worm farm of their own. It's one more way to use compost to help with your garden's growth!

Ard Hoyt adds energy and humor to the story with his expressive illustrations. Winnie's ever-present smile and dreamy countenance add to the charm. Her cat is a full-blown character who has no part in the text of the story but provides comic relief for adept observers. You'll like it!

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