Harriet’s Hungry Worms
EK Books, 2023
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
At Harriet’s place it’s her brother Fred’s job to walk Walter the dog, and her sister Sa;;y’s job to look after the chooks. Harriet’s job was to take care of the nine-hundred-and-eighty-three worms that live in in the big green box in a shady corner of the garden. Each day she fed them different scraps and waste that the family generated but after a whole week it seemed that they did nothing but eat and wriggle. And then Harriet spotted the tap at the back of the big green box and discovered something quite magical…
There have been some outstanding books helping our young readers understand how they, themselves, can contribute to looking after the environment released recently, and this is one of them. Back in the days of the dinosaurs when I was at school the only thing we learned about worms was that they were hermaphrodites (something I can still recall all these years on) but nothing about how essential they are to keeping the planet healthy and balanced, even helping to reduce methane gas production which is such a contributor to climate change. By writing an engaging story that will appeal to young readers as it takes the reader through worms’ menu through the days of the week (a much healthier version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar) with a nod to alliteration as well as some essential worm facts and their foodie likes and dislikes, this is narrative non fiction that will inspire our children to investigate having their own worm farm either at home or at school, as well as understanding the concept of composting and generally giving Mother Nature a helping hand.
Ready-made farms are readily available and many councils offer rebates on their initial cost, although it is easy enough to build one, while there is plenty of advice and information available to ensure the farm is healthy and active. Teachers’ notes linked to the Australian Curriculum also offer insight and information to help not only appreciate the story but also inspire the students to be more pro-active about being involved so they too, can feel they are contributing,