I Can Only Draw Worms, Will Mabbitt (author & illus.), Puffin Books (Penguin Random House) 2017

Synopsis: This book is about worms. I can only draw worms.

You might think worms are boring – but you’d be wrong. These worms have incredible adventures!

I can’t draw those bits, though, so you’ll have to imagine them.

A hilarious and superbly silly book that will have children in stitches and begging for more.


On the back cover of I Can Only Draw Worms, the following is written: ‘A book that’s all about worms might sound a little odd, but in fact it’s absolutely hilarious and is guaranteed to have children howling with laughter.’ The paragraph sums up this fun, quirky picture book perfectly!

Author/illustrator Will Mabbitt has created a simple yet effective story that combines a counting concept with lots of silliness and bright, primary colours in the artwork. It is a whole lot of fun and kids and adults (who will enjoy jokes that some of the littlest readers may not get yet) will no doubt want to read it over and over again.

While only worms are illustrated in the book, as you’d guess from its title, readers are drawn in by the narrator’s voice, the boldly depicted worms, and the stories told about them. Little ones will also have their imaginations tickled, at the same time as their funny bones, when they’re instructed to picture the things or events the illustrator “can’t” draw.

This book reminds me of B.J. Novak’s The Book With No Pictures, and Beck and Matt Stanton’s This Is A Ball in its ability to use an ongoing joke, rather than a particular story arc, to keep kids turning the page and giggling throughout. As a read-aloud at home, in the classroom, or in a library, this book should be an immediate hit. The almost neon colours used throughout will make it easy for even children at the back of a group to see what’s happening in the pictures.

With so many picture books seeming to cover the same types of concepts these days, it’s really refreshing to read something so different. I’m also really loving the fact that kids will likely be inspired to have a go at creating more of their own drawings and other artwork, without the worry of being an expert, after reading the book. After all, the illustrator reminds them regularly that he can’t draw anything but simple worms himself.

You might have never thought a story about worms (who pretty much all look the same except for one in a different colour because the author/illustrator “lost his pen”!) could be so entertaining, you’ll quickly change your mind when reading this one.

The book is recommended for children aged around four years and up.

Please note: a copy of the book was provided free of charge by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


2 thoughts to “Picture Book Review: I Can Only Draw Worms

  • Debra Tidball

    Sounds like a hoot! Picture Book Book Club had an hilarious twitter party with Will Mabbit recently – we were all drawing worms!

    • Kellie Byrnes

      Ooh, yay, that would have been lots of fun! I’m sorry I missed that Twitter party. Check out the book when you get a chance – it had me smiling (and as someone who can barely draw stick figures I appreciated the concept, too!) 🙂


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