Cover image for How to eat fried worms
How to eat fried worms
Rockwell, Thomas, 1933-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Dell Pub. Co., 1973.
Physical Description:
xi, 115 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm.
Two boys set out to prove that worms can make a delicious meal.
Reading Level:
650 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.5 2.0 174.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.5 4 Quiz: 05449 Guided reading level: R.
Added Author:
Format :


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J FICTION (READING LIST) Juvenile Mass Market Paperback Reading List

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Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid , The Worst Class Trip Ever , and the Tapper Twins series "will revolt and delight" in How to Eat Fried Worms ( Booklist ).

People are always daring Billy to do zany things. But Billy may have bitten off more than he can chew when he takes his friend Alan's bet that Billy can't eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. If Billy wins, Alan has to fork over fifty dollars. Billy wants the money to buy a used minibike, so he's ready to dig in. He sets up mustard and ketchup, salt and pepper, and sugar and lemon to disguise the disgusting taste.
Good news for Billy--once he gets going, he finds himself actually getting hooked on those juicy worms.
Bad news for Billy--Alan is busy cooking up schemes to make Billy worm out of the bet. Will Billy keep up his wormy work for fifteen days?
No cheating! Keep eating! Worm by worm by worm...

Praise for How to Eat Fried Worms :

[STAR] "The clear writing, clever illustrations , and revolting subject matter are sure to make a hit."-- School Library Journal , Starred Review

" A hilarious story that will revolt and delight ....Colorful, original writing in a much-needed comic vein."-- Booklist

"Rockwell's sensibilities (if that's the word) are so uncannily close to those of the average ten-year-old boy that one begins to admire Billy as a really sharp operator ."-- Kirkus Reviews

Author Notes

Thomas Rockwell is the author of a number of books for young readers. He was the recipient of the Mark Twain Award, the California Young Reader Medal, and the Sequoyah Award for How to Eat Fried Worms . He lives in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Having accepted a bet to eat fried worms, Billy, along with his family and friends, devises ways to eat 15 worms in 15 days.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-The story of Billy who, because of a bet, is in the uncomfortable position of having to eat 15 worms in 15 days. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter I: The Bet Hey, Tom! Where were you last night?" "Yeah, you missed it." Alan and Billy came up the front walk. Tom was sitting on his porch steps, bouncing a tennis ball. "Old Man Tator caught Joe as we were climbing through the fence, so we all had to go back, and he made us pile the peaches on his kitchen table, and then he called our mothers." "Joe's mother hasn't let him out yet." "Where were you?" Tom stopped bouncing the tennis ball. He was a tall, skinny boy who took his troubles very seriously. "My mother kept me in." "What for?" "I wouldn't eat my dinner." Alan sat down on the step below Tom and began to chew his thumbnail. "What was it?" "Salmon casserole." Billy flopped down on the grass, chunky, snub-nosed, freckled. "Salmon casserole's not so bad." "Wouldn't she let you just eat two bites?" asked Alan. "Sometimes my mother says, well, all right, if I'll just eat two bites." "I wouldn't eat even one." "That's stupid," said Billy. "One bite can't hurt you. I'd eat one bite of anything before I'd let them send me up to my room right after supper." Tom shrugged. "How about mud?" Alan asked Billy. "You wouldn't eat a bite of mud." Alan argued a lot, small, knobby-kneed, nervous, gnawing at his thumbnail, his face smudged, his red hair mussed, shirttail hanging out, shoelaces untied. "Sure, I would," Billy said. "Mud. What's mud? Just dirt with a little water in it. My father says everyone eats a pound of dirt every year anyway." "How about poison?" "That's different." Billy rolled over on his back. "Is your mother going to make you eat the leftovers today at lunch?" he asked Billy. "She never has before." "How about worms?" Alan asked Billy. Tom's sister's cat squirmed out from under the porch and rubbed against Billy's knee. "Sure," said Billy. "Why not? Worms are just dirt." "Yeah, but they bleed." "So you'd have to cook them. Cows bleed." "I bet a hundred dollars you wouldn't really eat a worm. You talk big now, but you wouldn't if you were sitting at the dinner table with a worm on your plate." "I bet I would. I'd eat fifteen worms if somebody'd bet me a hundred dollars." "You really want to bet? I'll bet you fifty dollars you can't eat fifteen worms. I really will." "Where're you going to get fifty dollars?" "In my savings account. I've got one hundred and thirty dollars and seventy-nine cents in my savings account. I know, because last week I put in the five dollars my grandmother gave me for my birthday." "Your mother wouldn't let you take it out." "She would if I lost the bet. She'd have to. I'd tell her I was going to sell my stamp collection otherwise. And I bought that with all my own money that I earned mowing lawns, so I can do whatever I want with it. I'll bet you fifty dollars you can't eat fifteen worms. Come on. You're chicken. You know you can't do it." " I wouldn't do it," said Tom. "If salmon casserole makes me sick, think what fifteen worms would do." Joe came scuffing up the walk and flopped down beside Billy. He was a small boy, with dark hair and a long nose and big brown eyes. "What's going on?" "Come on," said Alan to Billy. "Tom can be your second and Joe'll be mine, just like in a duel. You think it's so easy -- here's your chance to make fifty bucks." Billy dangled a leaf in front of the cat, but the cat just rubbed against his knee, purring. "What kind of worms?" "Regular worms." "Not those big green ones that get on the tomatoes. I won't eat those. And I won't eat them all at once. It might make me sick. One worm a day for fifteen days." "And he can eat them any way he wants," said Tom. "Boiled, stewed, fried, fricasseed." "Yeah, but we provide the worms," said Joe. "And there have to be witnesses present when he eats them; either me or Alan or somebody we can trust. Not just you and Billy." "Okay?" Alan said to Billy. Billy scratched the cat's ears. Fifty dollars. That was lot of money. How bad could a worm taste? He'd eaten fried liver, salmon loaf, mushrooms, tongue, pig's feet. Other kids' parents were always nagging them to eat, eat; his had begun to worry about how much he ate. Not that he was fat. He just hadn't worked off all his winter blubber yet. He slid his hand into his shirt and furtively squeezed the side of his stomach. Worms were just dirt; dirt wasn't fattening. If he won fifty dollars, he could buy that mini-bike George Cunningham's brother had promised to sell him in September before he went away to college. Heck, he could gag anything down for fifty dollars, couldn't he? He looked up. "I can use ketchup or mustard or anything like that? As much as I want?" Alan nodded. "Okay?" Billy stood up. "Okay." Excerpted from How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.