Wooly Worm Race

The Worm Whisperer - Betty Hicks, Ben Hatke



The afternoon knows what the morning never expected...

- Chapter 14



Ellis Coffey's 4th-grade teacher has them write each other's obituaries. This is what Geroge writes about Ellis:


Ellison "Ellis" Coffey lived his whole happy life in Banner Elk, North Carolina. His family ran a blueberry farm, and that's why Ellis's fingertips looked like ink. He loved animals and insects. He was very funny and had lots of friends. Mr. Turnmire called him our class-clown-but-with-brains. The world was a better place because Ellis lived in it.


Ellis's dad has a herniated disk in his back and has to spend most of his time lying flat. His mom works two jobs, along with making blueberry muffins, pies & jam to sell at the farmer's market. Ellis's dad needs an operation, but it costs $1,000 and they cannot afford it. 


Ellis finds a wooly worm (caterpillar) and it seems to respond to his words. So, Ellis decides that he is a worm whisperer and plans to enter his worm in the Wooly Worm Race. The prize is $1,000, and if Ellis wins, he will be able to pay the deductible for his dad's surgery.


This is a cute story and moves along quickly. Kids will enjoy reading about Ellis's worm training and the exciting conclusion at the race. Along the way, Ellis deals with school, bullies, friendship issues and figuring out who he is.

(Library copy)


Recommended to:

Readers in grades 3-5 who enjoy realistic fiction stories.