“How to Eat Fried Worms” by Thomas Rockwell

I heard a couple of months ago that “How to Eat Fried Worms” was being turned into a movie, slated to be released into theaters in August 2006. Being the avid reader that I am, this prompted me to re-read the book that I had read as a child. Despite the subtlety of the title in reference to the plot, “How to Eat Fried Worms” is a book about how to face your fears and how to keep your word.

The book begins with three friends — Tom, Alan, and Billy — talking about their previous evening. Apparently, Tom had missed something funny because his mother had kept him inside because he would not eat his dinner. This gets the boys talking about what they would and would not eat. Billy says that he would eat one bite of anything before he would risk being sent up to his room after dinner. When Alan asks Billy if he would eat worms, Billy says he would. This results in the bet.

Alan decides to bet Billy fifty dollars that he can’t eat fifteen worms — one worm a day for fifteen days. Billy thinks that he has eaten things that probably taste worse than worms, so he agrees to the bet. He makes the condition that he is allowed to eat them any way he wants, with any condiments he wants. Alan agrees and so the bet begins.

During the next fifteen days, Alan tries to do anything he can to get Billy to break the deal, from telling Billy’s parents to trying to get him to fall asleep after a long day out so that he will miss one day. When he tells Billy’s parents, they decide that if Billy gave his word that he should keep it. Billy’s mother even helps Billy fry some of the worms. When Alan thinks that he has Billy beaten after Billy falls asleep in the car after a day at Shea Stadium, you won’t believe what happens!

Just a warning…”How to Eat Fried Worms” is not for the faint of stomach. Of course, when I was a child the notion of eating worms did not bother me. Now, my stomach is more sensitive and getting through the book was a little more difficult. Just be sure that you remember this if your child decides s/he wants you to read along. Your child, however, should get a kick out of it — unless s/he has a sensitive stomach.

“How to Eat Fried Worms” is available for purchase from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.