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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Arthur and the Earthworms
by Johanne Mercier
Age Range: 6-8
Arthur, the narrator of the story is seven years old and starting from tomorrow heís beginning a new job Ė selling earthworms! He started to get interested in worms because of his pet duck introduced in the first ĎArthurí book Arthur and the Mystery of the Egg. Arthurís duck lives at his grandparentís house and worms are his favourite food. When Arthur wants to give him a treat, they go worm-hunting together. Because it rained a lot on Sunday they found hundreds of worms so Grandpa suggests that Arthur hides them in the fridge while Grandma isnít looking as thatís what he always does!
The ĎArthurí stories by French Canadian author Johanne Mercier are full of quirky characters and understated humour. Everything is seen through Arthurís eyes which will appeal directly to young readers. The language is easily accessible to children but contains a degree of irony that will be enjoyed by adults too, and this is due in no small part to an excellent translation by award-winning translator Daniel Hahn. The amusing black and white illustrations by Clare Elsom help to accentuate the wit of the text.
Although each story in the series is separate many of the themes follow on to the next book so it is a good idea to start with book one - Arthur and the Mystery of the Egg. Other titles in the series are: Arthur and the Yeti and Arthur and Guard Dog.
This series of stories about Arthur are sure to become a firm favourite with any seven-year-old.