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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Worm Loves Worm, written by J. J. Austrian and illustrated by Mike Curato. Balzer & Bray, Harper. 2015. $21.99 ages 4 and up

""You'll need to get rings
to wear on your fingers,"
says Cricket. "That's how
it's always been done."

"But we don't have fingers,"
says Worm.

"We can wear them like
belts," says Worm."

Is getting married ever simple these days? Weddings seem to be much more complicated than they need to be; just ask Worm and Worm. They love each other, and want to get married. It seems pretty straightforward ... until Cricket and a host of other friends feel the need to offer advice and be heard when it comes to the planning.

Cricket insists that someone be there to perform the ceremony ... and volunteers his services. Worm and Worm are now ready to be married. Beetle steps in to say he will act as 'best beetle'. Fine, now they can be married!

Do you see where I am going with this? At every turn, someone else feels the need to make a personal suggestion for the wedding. The two worms are deferential to all advice given. They respond patiently, and with aplomb. Then, the bees present ideas that require help from Spider to get the show on the road.

"But you still need
a white dress,
a tuxedo, a top hat,
lots and lots of flowers,
and a cake with frosting,"
say the Bees."

Finally, they can be married!

One more question needs to be answered - who is the bride and who is the groom?

Worm and Worm, who love each other and want to be married for that reason alone, stand tradition on its ear and come up with the perfect response. Huzzah!

Mike Curato uses white backgrounds to keep our attention focused on the cast of wedding characters as they 'worm' their way into the planning and execution of the ceremony that results following a stated desire to be together. We know which worm is which because of their eyes. What we know best is that they love each other.

And on this Valentine's Day, we can be happy that love does conquer all!

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