Worm Loves Worm (2016) by J.J. Austrian is a celebration of love in all its formats. When a worm meets another special worm, they fall in love. When they decide to get married their friends want to know who will wear the dress and the tux. The answer is simply that it doesn’t matter, because they love each other. The wonderfully animated insects combined with the succinct, repetitive text is excellent at keeping children invested in the love story of two worms and their friends. The design of the pages are smart as the use of white space is contrasted with brightly colored drawing of insects. The illustrations are larger than the text, so beginner readers can focus on the action being portrayed rather than the conversation. The sentences are made up of five words or less, which is ideal for children just learning to read and those who feel confident handling more than five words in a sentence. Every page of the book has action and dialogue on it, as the characters of the worms become increasingly more developed though the interactions. The predictable structure of the story make it easier for children to listen and comprehend the revolutionary concepts in the book. Austrian tells a compelling story for young readers of love and the ability to change the rules in life, if they do not fit with your plan. Reading this material is great way to explain the concept of being a voice for change, while reinforcing the message that, all you need is love.
Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi’s The Story of Diva and Flea (2015) is an interesting transitional read to help children adjust to more complex narratives from simple reading books. The book is an entertaining take on the value of friendship and has been nominated for the Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award for 2017. It is about a dog named Diva, she resides at 11 avenue Le Play in Paris and meets a cat named Flea, a Flaneur, or wanderer (Willems and DiTerlizzi, 2015). The story is composed in large paragraphs with well-colored pictures of both Flea and Diva as their lives become more connected through friendship. There are several significant splash pages where both characters see how wide and intricate the world can truly be when you step into it. Together they overcome their individual fears to embrace a wider world and deeper sense of trust through a friendship unexpected but endearing for both character and reader. This is a perfect read for anyone interested in helping children find books with a positive message of friendship, great visuals, and a text-oriented narrative that will help them read longer tales while improving their core vocabulary.
Austrian, J. J., & Curato, M. (2016). Worm loves Worm. New York: Balzer Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins.
Willems, M. and DiTerlizzi. (2015). The Story of Diva and Flea. New York, NY. Hyperion Books for Children.