This book shows that an information story can be aesthetically pleasing as well as a good source of knowledge. It is colourful, generous in size and use of space, and has much variety of text and illustration on each page. A familiar device invites readers to join a well informed grandmother and her grandchild who are exploring the worms that live in her garden. Both written text and illustrations are imaginative in judging what is likely to interest young learners. Even a simple creature like a worm has a fascinating body; it cannot see, but it has five pairs of hearts. The written text is lively, full of engaging and relevant dialogue and extended enough to give the account gravitas. But it has playful elements too: fictional devices like speech bubbles to give a worm’s ‘thoughts’ and some little jokes.
The illustrations are richly diverse too and include double spreads, vignettes and diagrams which communicate information most effectively. There are some excellent cross sections showing the structure of the worm’s long slithery body and indicating the simple but efficient digestive system – the gizzard where small stones break the food down and the intestines from which the goodness of the food is absorbed. Other pictures communicate a sense of place: the generous garden is clearly a place of work and activity as the implements, plant frames and flower beds indicate. And in one double spread we glimpse a town in the distance.
Children are encouraged to respect these useful creatures by handling them gently and appreciating their role in loosening the soil so that plant roots can stretch out and rain can keep the soil moist.