By: Suzanne Paul Dell’Oro
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010
Earthworms tunnel through the ground. An earthworm “has a long, thin body.” They live in burrows underneath the ground because it is “cool and wet underground.” The reason they remain underground is because they cannot let their bodies dry out. They have a slimy look because their skin is “coated with mucus.” This allows them to “breath and drink through their skin.” If they are above ground, the sun tends to dry out their skin so you will only see them come out when it is dark or if it is raining. In the wintertime they stay in their burrow, but in the summer they “tunnel down to find wet soil.”
Tunneling through dirt seems like a difficult thing to do, but the mucus enables them to move through soil easily. The rings that you can see on their skin are called segments. These enable the worm to stretch and move by grabbing the dirt with its front end and “then its back end slides forward.” Earthworms are called invertebrates because they don’t have a backbone. Its “soft body lets it squeeze through cracks in the soil.” In this book you will learn how the earthworm can move through soil, you will get to see a close-up photograph of its mouth, you will learn what it eats, you will learn about castings, how the earthworm protects itself from enemies, how it can regenerate lost parts, you’ll learn to tell the difference between the head and the tail, how it reproduces, you’ll get to see a baby earthworm coming out of a cocoon, and you’ll learn the names of its parts.
This is a very interesting close-up look at the common earthworm, a creature most children are familiar with. Although there is no range map in this book, they are abundant in North America so the majority of children who read this book will have had an experience with them. This is an excellent overview of the earthworm and introduces the fact that the animal is an invertebrate, which can easily provide a stepping stone to another lesson on animal science. The photographs are very well chosen and I particularly liked the one of the close-up of the mouth and the cocoons. Captions reiterate and point to relevant information being discussed in the text. In the back of the book is a simple “Earthworm Diagram,” some “Fun Facts,” an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources.
Quill says: This book provides an excellent close-up view of the earthworm and can easily provide a stepping stone to further lessons in animal science!