Friday, May 4, 2012

Word Eater

Word Eater
Mary Amato, illustrated by Christopher Ryniak
Scholastic, 2000
$6.95, Paperback
February 29th, 2012

Genre: Fantasy
Age: 8+
Description: Sixth grader Lerner Chanse has started life at a new school and is miserable. When she fails to complete a dare by the popular girls she is destined to be labeled a SLUG (Sorry Losers Underground). However, it all changes when she finds an unusual worm named Fip—he has been ostracized from him worm clan because he doesn’t eat dirt. He is actually magical. He prefers to eat words. The only problem is when he eats a word it and whatever it symbolizes disappears from existence! Lerner, knowing his magic, decides to go about making life better but she soon discovers that his power comes with great responsibility—will she figure out what to do before she accidentally erases something really important forever—like her school?
Opinion: This is a quirky, cute story. The small illustrations added throughout—usually pictures of Fip and the words he eats and newspaper articles about things mysteriously disappearing—add a fun perspective to the story. Lerner is a bit of a nerd. She wants to do good with Fip’s magic but finds that even a small seemingly harmless change can have drastically bad consequences, such as when she deletes Billy, the bully’s, dog because the dog is very mean. When the popular kids try to use Fip to delete the school she has to face tough choices—do it and be popular or save the school and risk being labeled a SLUG forever. The cover could really use an updating as I almost passed the book over because the illustration wasn’t very appealing.

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