How to Eat Fried Worms

by Thomas Rockwell

Paperback, 1953



Call number

PB Roc

Call number

PB Roc

Local notes

PB Roc




Yearling (1953), Edition: First Printing, 128 pages


Two boys set out to prove that worms can make a delicious meal.


Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — 1977)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 1976)
Mark Twain Readers Award (Winner — 1975)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 1976)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

128 p.; 5.19 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member MandyMichelle
This book is about a boy named Alan who is a very picky eater and his parents have finally had enough. Alan's friend Billy told him he could eat anything and would eat anything. The two boys bet that if he ate 15 worms in 15 days he would give him $50 dollars to buy a new bike.

This is a really
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funny book that I really enjoyed reading. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.

I would use this book when talking about bullying and how it is not nice to bully anyone and also I would have the students write in a journal about what they like and dislike with foods.
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LibraryThing member lep119
This book is an excellent transition book by Thomas Rockwell. This book is great and I really enjoyed it! The book follows a boy named Billy who because of a bet, is in the uncomfortable position of having to eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. The worms are supplied by his opponent, who motto is
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"The bigger and juicer, the better!" At first Billy's problem is whether or not he can swallow the worm placed before him, even with a choice of condiments from peanut butter to horseradish. But later it looks as if Billy will win, and the challenge becomes getting to the worm to eat it. Billy's family, after checking with the doctor, takes everything in stride. They even help Billy through his gastronomic ordeal, which twists and turns with each new day, leaving the outcome of the best continually in doubt. Would recommend this book to transitional readers!
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LibraryThing member shelbyweryavah
This books is about four friends and a bet. Alan bets Billy that he can't eat fifteen worms, one a day for fifteen days. The loser has to give the winner fifty dollars. Tom and Billy are on a side, and Tom is working really hard to make sure Billy eats the worms. Meanwhile, Joe and Alan are
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cheating, doing anything and everything they can to make Billy lose.

I liked this book, it showed that friendship is more important than any bet. It also shows how cheating at simple bets or even games you play with your friends can ruin your friendship.

For an extension we would watch the movie in class and compare the similarities and differences of the two. During the movie, the students can eat candy worms if they wish. The students can also make a menu, for a restuarant, of a variety of worm entrees. They can also design the shape of the menu into a worm and give the restuarant a name.
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LibraryThing member CTieyah
Alan bets Billy fifty dollars that Billy can’t eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. After successfully eating the first few (coated with condiments and even fried), Alan and his friend Joe get worried that they will. They begin trying all these different ways to trick Billy into losing the bet.
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From gluing two worms together to sending fake letters from the doctor, the boys try everything they can think even up to the last minute of the bet to get Billy to lose. Billy goes through the fear of being poisoned to having nightmares, but in the end, he wins the bet…and even begins to like eating worms.

I think this is a cute book. I remember reading it when I was younger. Although it is humorous and light, it has good morals about cheating and peer pressure. I have a two year-old son, so when I was reading this I kept putting myself in Billy’s mom’s position. It would be funny to experience that sort of situation among your son and his friends. However, I am not sure I would be as willing as she was to fry up any worms in my kitchen!

One extension would be to discuss the issue of peer pressure. This book was funny but peer pressure is a serious subject. The class could make a list of ways to deal with peer pressure and how to say no. They could decorate a poster board with that list and it could be put up in the hall or somewhere in the school. Another simple extension would be for the students to write about the grossest thing they have ever eaten/tasted and explain whether they would eat it again for something they really want (and what it is they really want). They could share it with the class.
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LibraryThing member country
This contemporary realistic ficiton story makes the reader laugh throughout the whole story. It's about four boys who make a bet for fifty dollars on who can eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. Two boys are basically on one team and the other two boys are on an other team. Throughout the story the
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boys are always playing tricks on each other, trying to get the other person to cave in. I learned from the story that the title of the story could be a little disturbing. When you first start a story don't judge the book by the first few chapters, just keep reading on until it starts to get interesting. While reading this story, I had to make myself read it at the begining because it was really boring. After I got into it, the story started to get a little more interesting. In the classroom, I don't know that I would read this story to my students. It had some bad words throughout the story. There was never a lot of them, but enough that a child would notice. If I did read this story to my class, I would have to skip over those words and hopfully the story would still make sense. How to eat fried worms would be a good story if it didn't have all of those bad words.
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LibraryThing member annafcurry
This book is about a group of four boys which one bets the other Billy, $50 to eat 15 worms in 15 days. Due to the boys trying to trick Billy so that he would not eat all 15 worms in the 15 days so that he could loose the bet the boys told the parents, fighting, and planning mishaps. Billy is
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hoping to win the bet and wants to spend the $50 to buy a minibike. Billy proves everyone wrong nd eats all 15 worms in the 15 days and wins the bet.

I really liked this books. It was a fun book intended for older readers. In the back of the book were a few receipes that the titles had the word names in them for example worm and dirt dessertand chrunchy worm salad. It just reminds me of how you would think that boys act and that it could be something that really could happen.

Some extension ideas are after reading the book for snack time either bring or make a worm snack from one of the receipes from the book.Take the class out on the playground and have the childen dig up worms and examine them. The class could even dissect a worm.
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LibraryThing member IzzyInTheAlley
Okay, I think I would have liked this book more if I was younger when I read it. Because I was in the 7th grade when I read it, it didnt really do much for me. Never the less, I think that elementrary kids will really enjoy this quirky and fun story.
LibraryThing member cry6546
How to Eat Fried Worms is a story about a young boy named Alan who got in trouble from his parents for being a picky eater. His friend Billy told Alan that he could and would eat anything. The two children then had a bet that if Billy could eat 15 worms in 15 days, Alan would give him $50 to buy a
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bicycle. The children had struggles in their friendship because of the bet. In the end, Billy ate all of the worms and they all were taking turns riding on the new bike.

This book was very interesting to see if Billy would eat the worms and if Alan really would come up with the $50 dollars. I believe it had a great theme of friendship and what can get in between.

One activity would to make chocolate cupcakes and put spaghetti noodles in them to look like worms and see if the kids would eat it. Another idea would be to have the children write about their feelings when Alan started to become mean towards Billy so they can connect better to the story.
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LibraryThing member mcivalleri
This is a fun book, silly, and yet approaches conflict, and bullying, and how people handle it. The inclusion of the "gross" aspect of eating worms may appeal to kids (especially to middle school boys)! But the story is fun, and a quick read that should delight most students. I would recommend
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including it in a school library.
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LibraryThing member MsTebedoLovesReading
How to Eat Fried Worms is a story about a young boy named Alan who got in trouble from his parents for being a picky eater. His friend Billy told Alan that he could and would eat anything. The two children bet that if Billy can eat 15 worms in 15 days, Alan would give him $50 to buy a bicycle. But
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I will not tell who wins.

I really like this book. It would be a great addition to my library since bullying is a huge issue in todays day and age. I know that the students are going to be really curious to see what the boys will do in the end.

This book would give students a great opportunity to write in thier journals about what they would feel like if this happened to them from both boys perspective. We could also talk about what "perspective" means.
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LibraryThing member lia1tan
My teacher read this book to the class in second grade and I liked it because it tells readers how many different ways to eat fried worms. After we finished the book we ate fried worms and we used almost all the different ways the book mention. Worms were actually quite tasty.
LibraryThing member barefootTL
ELIB 530A LibraryThing – Part D – Realistic Fiction – popular
This book is not for the squeamish of any age. I read it for the first time now as an adult and it had me simultaneously wanting to drop the book because of the gross out factor and yet hanging on because I couldn’t put it down
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before I found out the outcome. In the book, Billy accepts a dare from friends that he can eat 15 worms in 15 days and if he does he will get 50.00. He has his sights set on buying a mini-bike and he decides it’s worth it. The book takes the reader through each of the 15 days drama between the 4 main characters of the book, Billy and his friends. As the days move along it becomes apparent that Billy just may be able to do it and that 50.00 is going to be hard to get. They hadn’t counted on that. The boys go through incredible lengths to sabotage Billy’s success, including writing a fake letter from a doctor, getting into fights, trying to invent new rules, gluing two worms together, distracting him and making bean paste (covered in cornmeal) look like a worm to name a few. Their antics in the end are all for naught. Billy wins and the minibike is his at last. I think this book would be a very good one to recommend to upper elementary students who are reluctant readers. It is not terribly long and the action keeps the reader hooked and wanting to get to the end to see what happens.
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LibraryThing member cacv78
Rockwell, Thomas. (1973) How to Eat Fried Worms. Pictures by Emily McCully. New York: Franklin Watts.
Billy and his friends are all involved in a bet that involved $50 and 15 worms. Billy is successful at eating the first 3 worms at the horror of his friends and realizes that the others will be a
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piece of cake. But his friends don't want to let him win that bet so they try to find ways to sabotage him and make him lose. They are unsuccessful and Billy is able to eat all 15 worms and wins the $50 and buys himself a minibike.
This book is great and has been popular after all these years. It has simple easy drawings that help the story along. The story premise is realistic and something that some kids would actually do since they are always looking for something daring.
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LibraryThing member lpeal
This chapter book is about a boynamed Billy who makes a bet with another young boy that he can't eat 15 worms in 15 days. This book goes through all kinds of fun and exciting ways that he can eat worms. I still love this book to this day because I read it as a child and I read it to my class every
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In my classroom I would have students think of different ways they could eat worms. (Kindergarten class) Then we could draw a picture of them.
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LibraryThing member bcowie
Billy accepts a $50 bet that he can eat 15 worms in 15 days. He and his friends find new and different ways to "cook" the worms to make them more edible.

While the idea is repulsive, the actual story is hilarious. I loved reading this book!

A science unit in which different types of worms are
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discussed could be used along side this book.
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LibraryThing member Jdonldsn
Prepare to be grossed out in the most hilarious ways as you follow a dare that leads to more trouble than Billy bargained for even the $50 he will get for completing the dare. With an undercurrent of the value of supportive family and friends, this book is a great read for reluctant readers.
LibraryThing member oapostrophe
The whole thing is a dare. Alan bets Billy fifty dollars that he can't eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. Tom hangs with Billy and Joe with Alan as Alan frets and worries that Billy will actually eat them. Alan and Joe try to find ways to freak Billy out or trick him into losing the bet, and there
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are some dicey moments!

Pretty cute book. 115 pages with illustrations a great 2nd grade read.
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LibraryThing member KFBruck
This book is about a group of friends and how they bet their friend Billy to eat 15 worms. The bet gets a little out of control and before you know it they have multiple ways you could eat a worm. As disgusting as it seems the book was written and illustrated in a way that made you feel as if you
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were there and grabs the attention of the reader.
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LibraryThing member dosmus
How to eat fried worms is about four friends who make a bet that Billy, one of the boys, can't eat fifteen worms. If he does, he gets paid fifty dollars. His friends always find the biggest worms to make him eat. He continues to eat them and his friends become worried that he will actually finish
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eating them. His friends decide to try and scare him into not eating anymore worms by saying one of their dad's is concerned. Billy begins to feel "sick", but really isn't. He is just scared sometime he might actually get sick. After the boys tried many attempts to trick Billy into loosing the bet, it was finally over. Billy had won!

This book could be read to upper elementary students. The boys would really like it. After reading the book, I would have my students act out their favorite scheme. Then, I would bring supplies such as gummy worms, peanut butter, and bread to have each student create their own peanut butter worm sandwich.
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LibraryThing member ShondaNewsome
To win a fifteen dollar bet Billy has to eat the biggest worm his friends finds for for fifteen days. Later, Billie's friends realize that he may actually win the bet. So they began to make up stories to get Billy to stop eating worms and loose the bet. As a result, Billy wins the
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Personal Relations:
I can relate to this story as making crazy bets to win money or just to have fun with my friends and family.

Classroom Extension:
1. Teach will do a math activity with the students dealing with money, and counting.
2. Teacher will bring a supplies of gummy worms and crumbled oreo cookies as dirt and do an activity with students and eat the worms and cookies after activity.
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LibraryThing member Heather19
I have so many wonderful memories of this book. I got it when I was very young, maybe four or five, and my uncle would read it to me and deliberately gross me out with dramatizations of the worms and stuff. It was the subject of many discussions and pretend-play, and I must have read it (and had it
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read to me) at LEAST fifteen times over the course of my childhood. It's a classic! The very thought will make you shiver, but you just can't stop reading, because omg is this kid seriously doing this??
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LibraryThing member Miss.Barbara
Because of a bet, Billy is in the uncomfortable position of having to eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. The worms are supplied by his opponent, whose motto is "The bigger and juicier, the better!" At first Billy's problem is whether or not he can swallow the worm placed before him, even with a
Show More
choice of condiments from peanut butter to horseradish. But later it looks as if Billy will win, and the challenge becomes getting to the worm to eat it.

Billy's family, after checking with the doctor, takes everything in stride. They even help Billy through his gastronomic ordeal, which twists and turns with each new day, leaving the outcome of the bet continually in doubt.
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LibraryThing member fatlamb
A book that I thought I was not going to enjoy but for what it is worth it really was not that bad at all. A book I would recommend to reluctant boy readers. The story does portray some of today's realites that children go through, I would say the peer pressure aspect. The book depicts this in a
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humorous manner. I do not think this book is serious enough to illuminate the problems and issues of growing up in today's world (a bet to eat 15 worms in 15 days for 50 dollars). The characters are boys, best friends, they do what best friends do dare each other, try to trick each other, occasionally get into scuffle. This book does not discuss controversial topics. The book lacks in depth and is difficult to take as a realistic fiction book. The story isn't bad but it does not really teach much or has much to offer. The story lacks to help children enlarge their personal points of view.
Ages 7 - 9
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LibraryThing member kshielee
How to Eat Fried Worms may seem a little out of date with some of the language the author uses, but for the most part this book fits realistic fiction very well. The author does an excellent job of describing everything that is happening in such a way that the reader can imagine what is going on
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between the boys in this book and how their friendships are tested. The setting is not too specific though, so the reader could imagine the story happening in many different locations, such as their own neighborhood.
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LibraryThing member natalie.loy
A story about a new kid at school, Billy, and him learning how to stand up to the school bully. When Billy brings a thermos of warms to school the bully asks him if he always eats worms. In his fun sense of humor Billy says he eats them all the time. When Billy throws a worm at the bully it begins
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a battle of having to eat ten worms a day and the first one who gives up must walk through school with worms down their pants. Additionally, Billy has struggles at home with his dad not liking his new job and mom's time is consumed with other things. This is a great book to begin a conversation about bully while using light humor.
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½ (467 ratings; 3.6)
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