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Even being die-hard Julia Donaldson fans as we are in this house, I have to say we did wonder about a book called "Superworm" - an unlikely hero if ever there was one, but this book is an instant winner, which my child has wanted for bedtime every night since we got it. The combination of memorable rhyming text and the fantastic marriage between the story and Axel Scheffer''s detailed, colourful and humorous images make for an instant classic. The story sees superworm, rescuer of baby toads and bored bees, being put under the spell of the evil "Wizard Lizard" and facing death by crow. Can his bug friends band together to hatch a cunning plan to save him? To find out you will have to read the book, though like all Donaldson books a happy ending is pretty well ensured. Like Stick Man, this book works well as an everyday character is viewed differently through Donaldson''s eyes. I think a worm being a hat, belt or slide will appeal to adults as much as it does to children. I found that this book is definitely of the sort children will quickly join in with and adults will find themselves remembering despite themselves. I think it''s worth getting this book in hardback as it would make a lovely present and it''s bound to be one that is read and read again. Another winner from our children''s laureate and highly recommended by us.
Nobody needs to worry about anything when Superworm is about as he can just about save anyone from anything. However, who will save Superworm when he gets into trouble himself? This is another wonderful rhyming story from the very successful team of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Superworm is long and strong and he's a real hero as far as all of his insect friends are concerned. He always comes to the rescue when there is trouble. When Baby Toad is in danger of being run over on a major road, he turns himself into a lasso and scoops the baby away from the oncoming wheels. Another time, Beetle falls into a well and Superworm transforms himself into a fishing line in order to save him. In fact, Superworm can pretty much turn himself into anything and that makes him a very useful and helpful friend.
Unfortunately, there is a mean Wizard Lizard living nearby and when he hears about Superworm's powers he orders his servant crow to find and capture him, which he does. The lizard then gets Superworm tunnelling in the soil in order to find lots of hidden treasure for him. All of Superworm's insect friends are dismayed when they find out what has happened and they are determined to help set him free. Will they be able to come up with a cunning plan and save their own special super hero?
This is another fabulous story from Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson and it is complemented so well by Axel Scheffler's engaging illustrations. The story is very clever and my daughters were delighted by Superworm's versatility in transforming into so many different guises. Amongst other things, he can turn himself into a swing, a slide, a fairground ride and a hoola-hoop. We also had a lot of fun coming up with our own ideas of other things that Superworm could possibly become.
As with most of Julia Donaldson's books, the story is entirely in rhyme. This is brilliant for young children who will love to supply the rhyming words at the end of every other line and this will help them to develop their early phonological skills. The language is lively and there is quite a bit of repetition for small children to join in with:
Superworm is super-long.
Superworm is super-strong.
Watch him wiggle! See him squirm!
Hip, hip, hooray for SUPERWORM!
The illustrations are perfect for this story and if you have read other books from this pair, such as The Gruffalo or Stick Man, they will have a very familiar feel to them. They are very entertaining with lots of humour and lots of lovely detail to look out for. One of our favourite pages is where there are lots of pictures showing all the different things that Superworm can turn himself into.
Overall, this is fabulous book that children and their parents will want to return to again and again. If you already have a Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler collection, you will definitely want to add Superworm to it.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk
Superworm is another book by the renowned children's author Julia Donaldson. She has written classics such as The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo Child's, Monkey Puzzle, The Highway Rat and many others. As with many of her books she has teamed with illustrator Axel Scheffler.
This particular story is about a worm that is a hero where he lives. He likes to help out all his friends making their life's so much more fun and easy. But this is much to the disgust of Wizard Lizard whom wants to use Superworm as his own slave. Superworm is kidnapped by Wizard Lizard and is used as a personal slave. It is up to the garden creatures to save their own hero. As with a lot of Donaldson's stories the book starts off nice and introduces your child to some nice friendly characters, then you get to meet the bad guys. But the story finishes how every parent hopes for a bedtime story on a good note!
The story is written in rhyming text, this along with many other reasons is why me and my boys find Julie Donaldson's books irresistible. From an adults point of view the text flows effortlessly and can be read at a good pace. I feel if an adult is enjoying reading the story the child enjoys it more as well. The book is thirty two pages long and each page consists of a small amount of text on each. I found the story takes about five minutes to read which is a perfect length to keep my sons (aged 4 ½ and 3 years old) attentions. They particularly liked the chant 'Superworm is super-long. Superworm is super-strong. Watch him wiggle! See him squirm! Hip, hip, hooray for SUPERWORM!' It is repeated a couple of times throughout the story and after reading it just once I caught my eldest shouting it out to himself . The repetitive nature of Donaldson's books does mean it doesn't take your child long to get involved in the story telling. My boys love shouting out Superworm at the correct places. As my eldest is learning to read it didn't take him long to pick up on the word Superworm.
The illustrations for Superworm are as you would expect from Axel Scheffler, not only do they mesmerise my children I find them captivating too. For a very young child the pictures will tell them the story. My four and a half year old likes to sit alone with this book and tell the story from the pictures. All the pictures in this book bring the text alive. The detail in the pictures is immense and something I do find myself taking the time to look over. The colours used are bright and bold. I like how the colours change with the mood of the story. When it becomes dark with the Wizard Lizard so does the mood of the pictures. I find this enables a young child to easily pick up the slight tension of the story.
My son's instantly feel in love with the book and with Superworm their new hero! It has now become a firm favourite for a bedtime story. Although the actually story isn't too long in length I find my boys and I can sit for a good twenty minutes discussing the pages and their illustrations. My eldest particularly likes the rubbish dump page as he points out the small details of the dump.
As with many of Donaldson's books this story captivates my boy's imagination and will make a great addition to any book shelve. Superworm retails at £10.99 but currently (Dec 2012) can be purchased from Amazon at £3.99 which I would eagerly snap up. It would make an ideal present for any young child and in hard cover looks a high class item. I would highly recommend for any child who is able to hold a relative amount of attention. My son is nearly five and still fully enjoys Julia Donaldson books and I am sure he will do for some time yet, who wouldn't I'm twenty six and do!