How to Eat Fried Worms

by Thomas Rockwell

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 112

Billy, the protagonist of this story, proves himself equal to the challenge of eating fifteen worms in fifteen days by devising a variety of dishes to disguise their taste. Thomas Rockwell’s graphic descriptions of these dishes is humor of a type that appeals to middle-graders, but it alarmed some parents and adult library users. Parents complained of the book’s violence and vulgarity. For example, a Middletown, New Jersey, parent tried to have the book banned from a local library in 1988. This attempt failed; however, the book was removed from the Livelle Elementary School library in La Paz, Indiana, in 1991, after a library patron complained the book used the word “bastard.”

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