There are many books that I wish I had written, but I’ve just come across a picture book that I wish I had drawn. And that’s saying something considering I am about as good with a pencil as Mr Bean is with, well, anything. The book in question is I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt, published by Puffin.
The title says it all, really. The author/illustrator admits that the only thing he can draw is worms and they’re the only things that appear on the pages, apart from a pair of glasses, so you can distinguish Worm 2 from Worm 1 (they’re both an attractive shade of neon pink). Worm 3 appears in yellow, but when you ask yourselves or the eager children around you why that might be it’s not for identification purposes. Nope – Mabbitt lost his pink pen. There you go.
The rest of the book follows in a similar vein, teasing the children with promises of pictures of adventures then showing worms instead. A worm riding a unicorn? Yes please! But then we have to suffice with one worm riding on the back of another. This didn’t frustrate my young audience though – they all fell about laughing. The next time Mabbitt played the same trick, some fell for it again, some knew what was coming but they all enjoyed it regardless.
Books like these show how, often, the simplest of ideas can be the best. A missing worm who needed the loo and another worm whose fate is best left unmentioned here can have children entranced and delighted so this book works on all levels. It’s also great for teaching or reinforcing counting skills so it really is an all-rounder.
We did a lunchtime activity in the library based on the book and the children enjoyed drawing their own worms and giving them colours; rainbows proved popular. We stuck them on lolly sticks to make them wiggle even more!
By the way, the most popular worms in the book were 2, 3 and 8 (or 8.5…).