Slime and All, by Janet Ann Collins, with artwork by Alexander Morris, is a picture book for early readers. It has lots of fun and make-believe in the form of a large, talking, spunky worm, named Lump. When we first meet him, he is unhappy living on a farm. Lump’s not happy because the other farm animals, the pigs, cows, and horses, all run away from him. That makes him sad. He feels like an outsider and all alone in the world.
Lump decides to leave the farm and grabs a ride on a truck to the city. There he meets a smart boy named Jake, who informs the scared truck driver that “Worms do not hurt us.” Lump and Jake continue their adventures in a park. There Lump, gets some “wetting down” to make the slime he needs to wiggle around. Lump is afraid the kids in the park won’t like him, but Jake, ever calm and collected, calls them over to meet the big worm. The kids instantly like Lump and he reciprocates by giving them rides around the park.
The kids enjoy Lump, not because he’s like them, but because he’s different. Lump is great fun. He’s out of the ordinary, and he wants to be friends. This is a message that bears repeating as often as possible. It’s okay to be different. And it’s okay to meet new and different folks. You learn more about yourself as you learn about others. Even more importantly, you learn about friendship. And that’s one of the best lessons out there.
The whimsical pictures by Alexander Morris add to the pure enjoyment of this story. We would have no trouble seeing a giant worm in our minds. But, by making Lump cute and fun, Alexander Morris has given us another dimension in which to enjoy and appreciate this story. Thanks to Janet Ann Collins and Alexander Morris for a most delightful and fun family read. The children will love reading along until they can read it all by themselves, again and again.
Available from Guardian Angel Publishing.