Because of a bet, Billy is in the uncomfortable position of having to eat 15 worms in 15 days. The worms are supplied by his opponent, whose motto is "The bigger and juicier, the better!" At first Billy's problem is whether or not he can swallow the worm placed before him, even with a choice of condiments from peanut butter to horseradish. But later it looks as if Billy will win, and the challenge becomes getting to the worm to eat it.
Billy's family, after checking with the doctor, takes everything in stride. They even help Billy through his gastronomic ordeal, which twists and turns with each new day, leaving the outcome of the bet continually in doubt.
©1973 Thomas Rockwell (P)2000 Listening Library
"The clear writing, clever illustrations, and revolting subject matter are sure to make a hit with many middle-grade readers." (School Library Journal, starred)
"A hilarious story that will revolt and delight. . . . The chapters march briefly and irresistibly on, worm by worm. The characters and their families and activities are natural to a T, and this, juxtaposed against the uncommon plot, makes for some colorful, original writing in a much-needed comic vein." (Booklist)
"Rockwell's sensibilities (if that's the word) are so uncannily close to those of the average ten-year-old boy that one begins to admire Billy as a really sharp operator." (Kirkus Reviews)
I just could not get into this book. I listened to it with my wife and kids and I got the distinct feeling they didn’t get too much out of it either.
I couldn’t understand the kids in the story and what drove them to do what they did. I just couldn’t imagine any of the friends from my youth doing the stuff these kids did. Maybe if I’d grown up where they grew up and was as bored as they must have been, I’d get it.
Around the time we read this one, we also read another kids’ book (“Frindle”) and everyone enjoyed that story and said so. My kids said nothing at the end of this one and about halfway through I was ready to stop listening. My wife did not like it much either. I’m not sure why someone felt this would make a good movie.
I read the story when I was a kid and remembered liking it a lot. I wanted to find something my 5 year old son would enjoy listening to on a long car ride and this did the trick. It's a cute story, just enough gross to keep kid's attention and make it funny. It's a fun little book.
I liked hearing my son say "EWWWWWWW" and laugh at the boys in the book.
It's easy to imagine what these children look like based on the sound of their voices. Jay O. painted a picture with his voice.
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