Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler, the brilliant team behind The Gruffalo, have created a new exuberant character who is sure to delight young readers – and their parents – in this eagerly anticipated hardback, Superworm. The funny and fantastically-illustrated story is full of bouncy rhyming verses and has a fun chorus that is sure to have preschoolers joining in as they follow Superworm’s adventures as he faces up to the wicked Wizard Lizard and his sinister servant Crow. When Superworm is kidnapped by them, it is up to his animal friends to save him. The quirky illustrations are full of charming details and the unlikely hero of the tale has immense appeal for children aged 3 and over.
I must confess that I only bought ‘Superworm’ as it was on offer and because one of children’s literature’s most famous duos, Julia Donaldson and Axel Schleffer were behind the helm. It couldn’t be that much of a dud surely?!
To my relief, this book has proved to be an absolute hit with my 5yr old daughter and 2yr old son. Whilst thinking about doing this review, I was trying to work out what makes this book so loved. Asking the children gets the usual, not very descriptive, ‘It’s good’ so no real hope there.
I can only assume that it’s the combination of having a ‘superhero’ and that the characters are bugs and other small common creatures that the children can easily identify with. Each page is filled with action, the pace is fast, Superworm is afterall busy being a superhero and all that.
Also, Superworm is a hero that’s cool to younger children. Who cares about x ray vision, seeing the future, super strength etc when Superworm can make himself into a slide, skipping rope, train, lasso and so on? Throw in a dastardly lizard and his crow servant who want to use Superworm for their own nefarious purposes and you have the formula for a fantastic book in your hands.
The usual Donaldson and Schleffer footprints are here with the witty, easy to read poem that the kids quickly start to memorise and chant aloud with you in glee. Coupled with Schaeffler’s trademark quirky, detailed illustrations that adds life and character to the ‘creepy crawlies’ and the world which they inhabit, this is an enjoyable book to listen to and look at.
Verdict: This book may appear to have a limited target audience but would actually be appreciated by most children. It’s fast paced, full of action and yet easily relatable, catching most children’s interest. I’m sure that when the weather gets warmer we’ll be outside looking for our own ‘Superworm’ and friends!
Reviewed by Karen