Marty McGuire Digs Worms! by Kate Messner

Marty McGuire Digs Worms!Marty McGuire’s 3rd grade class room is charged with a very important task: create a Save the Earth Project. Marty is inspired – she and her best friend Annie have long admired natural scientists Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, and they often go into the woods behind Marty’s house and pretend to be studying gorillas and chimpanzees themselves. Now they have a chance to really make a difference!

With the help of Marty’s Grandma Barb the girls come up with an idea that will help reduce food waste at their school cafeteria: create a worm composting bin! Marty is very confident that their project will make an impact, and talks up the worms to her classmates so everyone is very excited to feed the worms all their crusts, green beans, and leftover bits of tuna fish sandwiches. But there’s a problem: the worms can only eat a little bit at a time; and certain foods, like meat or tuna fish, shouldn’t enter their habitat. Marty knows these things, but she also doesn’t want to let down her classmates, who are all clamoring for a chance to feed the worms. When Marty lets the worms’ habitat become inhospitable because she wants to please her classmates, the worms escape, and she is forced to reassess her plan. Marty and Annie come up with a solution to their worm problem, and ultimately their project is a success. Marty learns that change takes time, and that often you must be patient in order to see your ideas come to fruition. She also learns that taking responsibility for something takes planning, problem-solving, and courage.

Marty McGuire is an excellent book for kids transitioning into reading chapter books – the chapters are fairly short, and the book is dotted with black and white illustrations by Brian Floca which, with humor and expression, perfectly capture the different characters of the book. Marty McGuire Digs Worms! is an amusing and realistic look at the world of a 3rd grade classroom – Marty is a likable character, as are her patient teacher Mrs. Aloi, wacky Grandma Barb, and her loyal friend Annie. This would make a great read-aloud for a classroom – just in time for Earth Day! It can be read as the sequel to Messner’s book Marty McGuire, but it also stands on its own.

Posted by: Parry

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