The Word Eater
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The Word Eater

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  577 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Life is miserable for sixth-grader Lerner Chanse at her new school, where the MPOOE (Most Powerful Ones on Earth) Club ruthlessly rules over the SLUGs (Sorry Losers Under Ground). Then Lerner accidentally discovers that her pet worm Fip eats paper - with startling results...When he eats a label with the words "Mack's Thumbtacks", all Mack's thumbtacks instantly vanish and...more
Paperback, 151 pages
Published December 1st 2004 by Holiday House (first published April 1st 2000)
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Carol Royce Owen
After having just read Guitar Notes, I thought I'd look to see what else Mary Amato has written and saw this title and realized it has been on my bookshelf for a while. So glad I did because it's a fun fantasy that deals with bullying and that ever-present desire to fit in. Sixth grader, Lerner Chanse has just moved to a new school in a new state, and is NOT happy about it. At this school she funds that 6th grade is divided between the MPOOEs (Most Powerful Ones On Earth) led by Reba who determ...more
Brenda
What does the birth of a worm and the initiation of a sixth grader have in common? Well in The Word Eater they begin in the same moment, neither go well and both set in motion actions that will change the world.

Reba – president of MPOOE (Most Powerful Ones on Earth) seems to rule sixth grade at Cleveland Park Middle School along with Randy. They have divided the class into members or SLUGs. Lerner has just moved to this school, this town, this state and she is not too impressed with what she fin...more
Jnase1
This story started off very strange... in a clan of worms deciding the fate of its newest born member. Then it gets stranger when that worm, whose name is Fip, is left to die and ends up having a strange magical power. Whatever word it eats, that thing disappears. For example, it ate the name of a certain type of thumbtack and suddenly all those thumbtacks disappeared. Weird.

Meanwhile, over at Cleveland Park Middle School, sixth grader Lerner Chanse is having life issues of her own. Being the ne...more
D'andre Anthony
1.I like the book because it has advnture and mystery.In page number 10 lerner found a worm eating words that said macks thumbtacks and was going to pick it up.Also in page number 25 lerner saw the worm eating photosynthesis and in 5 min photosynthesis was gone.

2.I think my auntie would like this book because it is about advnture mystery and worms. Also my auntie likes books that has advnture mystery and worms.she is always reads books that has worms in it.

3.I think the thing that was most chall...more
Matt
I think I have read this book too many times. But I have always thought it was such a cool book.

It is an easy read, yes. But I think, in some respect, it is a classic, which is why I have read it so much.

I don't feel like writing a summary, and this is a 'review' anyways (or it supposedly is...). But if you haven't read it, do read it at some point. It is a quality book, even though it is meant for 'younger readers.'
Paula Lyle
I just finished reading this to this Year's class and it was popular again. It's an interesting question for kids: How much could/should you change things if you have power? Nice selection of characters with some changing and growing (my kids were surprised about Bobby) and some staying stubbornly the same. I do recommend this for elementary.
Maggie Klipp
This book follows a young girl in elementary school who finds a worm that eats words. What she did not know was that when the words were eaten, that aspect of something or that something would disappear forever within the context of the sentence the word was taken from. Many events transpire as a result of the worm eating certain words that have dire consequences for companies and people alike. For example, when certain words are eaten, dogs that are trained to be vicious and unrelenting as guar...more
Catherine
This fun little book shows the value of words - what happens when they are taken away and how we should be careful with our words. I like that this books shows how even good people can make mistakes and people we think are bad can have good in them.

I want a worm eater to get rid of cancer, seizures, and depression.
Melanie Cheung
Great book. I like the part where Bobby Nitz wanted to delete the principal Mr. Droan. How funny that part was.
Steve Clark
This is definitely a KID'S book, but a fun one that is not like everything else out there. Very simple story with a pretty fantastic premise (a worm eats words off the page, causing whatever it eats to disappear from the world) but eventually it approaches some fairly sophisticated ideas--given that it's addressed to 3rd-5th graders. The responsibility that comes with power, the problem of unexpected/unforeseen consequences, and the beauty and power of words (along with issues of peer pressure a...more
Mo
A wonderful book from my childhood.
Bill Prosser
Found this while going through the shelves for "under used" books! It's from 2000, but the story is pretty good, and the concept is even better. A student finds a worm that eat printed words, and then whatever word is eaten, all of those things disappear from the world. It has great potential for discussion and writing about what would students choose for the worm to eat, and the ripple effects that would have in the world. It also has the idea of popular kids vs. the unpopular kids, and how tha...more
Lisa Thornburg
This is such a cute book for elementary school kids. I love the story line and the concept. How fun would it be to have a worm that could make words disappear. This is a story about a young girl who finds a "magical" worm. He does not like to eat dirt, but loves to eat words. When he eats a word like vending machine then all vending machines disappear. If this worm falls into the wrong hands then things could go wrong very fast.
Kesha
This magical tale has so much potential, however Lerner Chanse (what a great character name)annoyed me as since she was so careless with the magical, word eating worm. I could not imagine a possessor of a gem like Fip, the magical worm, revealing its abilities so willy nilly. The denouement is a clever one. Overall the story is a clever, quick read with weak character development. Bobby Nitz is the most believable character.
Barb
Kind of an clever book about a young girl who, amidst some intense cliques in her class, finds a way to make things disappear when her strange little worm eats the word describing them. Like the attack dog next door. But when she realizes the unique power the worm has, a huge responsibility accompanies this as she decides how to use it. Kind of a heavy topic approached in a fun and sometimes touching manner.
Patty G.
I read this book and mention this to a teacher that I worked with as an aide. She suggested I do this book with 8th/7th grader students for guided reading. The kids who read this book really enjoyed it. It's really funny and interesting read. I enjoy it a lot and there are a lot new words that students are introduced to. They all wrote book reports on it and really did well on their reports.
Sadie
I read this for our library's mother/daughter book club that my daughter and I participate in. It is a cute story about dealing with peer pressure and accepting responsibility for you actions as well as the consequences. My daughter hasn't finished it yet, but seems to be enjoying it. I liked it for what it was, but is not a book that will reach out beyond the target audience.
Angie
Very cute and unique story. I found myself wondering how I would handle having little Fip and what I would have him eat (or not eat). I thought the ending was a great resolution to the main characters' conflict - one which I didn't consider when thinking about how I would resolve it myself. The whole story was a lot of fun and I've enjoyed sharing it with my 11 year old daughter.
Tori
This was such a good book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kristine Pratt
Ooooh....cool premise on this one. What if you found a worm that was so magical that whatever word it ate would DISAPPEAR completely? ah, the temptations!

This was an amazing little book with some serious lessons hidden inside a story of bullying and peer pressure. I liked it, and I like how the whole issue was resolved in the end. Yes, I'd recommend this one.
Shauna
Jul 10, 2008 Shauna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kids 4th grade and up
Recommended to Shauna by: I can't remember
I read this sixth grade book in one setting. I like words, and I like stories about kids. What can I say? What did I learn?

Well, it is bad to do big things without thinking about the consequences. Lerner, the main character in the story has a worm that eats words. And when she eats the words, things happen.

If you want to know more, read the book.
Meghan
This book was fun and thoughtful! The MC was admirable and thought through the consequences of her power before acting too rashly. Her name, Lerner, fits her well. It matches her charactrer. She learned from mistakes quickly before she made bigger mistakes. She tried to use her power only for the good. It had a satisfying ending.
Mandy
Cute little story that could provoke some good discussion. A girl finds a worm who eats written words, but when he does those words disappeared in the real world. It starts off small, with all of the thumbtacks disappearing, but when the kids at school try to make the whole school disappear, something must be done.
Mrs. Brandt
Lerner, a new kid at Cleveland Middle School, finds a magic worm who can make things disappear simply by eating the words that define them. Will this secret power help Lerner fit in at school? Can it make the whole world a better place? or will it just wreak havoc? A very creative story for middle grade students!
Ellen Brandt
Lerner, a new kid at Cleveland Middle School, finds a magic worm who can make things disappear simply by eating the words that define them. Will this secret power help Lerner fit in at school? Can it make the whole world a better place? or will it just wreak havoc? A very creative story for middle grade students!
Sydney
I loved this book it has been a while since I have read it so I don't remember what happened. I liked the main character lerner. I thought she was funny. I liked the little worm I forgot the name but I do know that it ate words. It was perfect for a fourth grader to read. I would recommend it to everyone.
Someone Called Abi
This book is awesome! Its for second grade age, but who cares? I read it as part of a first and second grade book club, and it was cool. I recommend it if you just want to read a little kid book that is good, or if you are a little kid. Its about a worm.... read the book to find out the rest!!
Megan Sutherland
This chapter books follows Lerner Chanse around at her new school. As Lerner believes she will be labeled a "SLUG," she finds a worm that eats printed words instead of dirt. Once the word is eaten, it is gone forever. Lerner has to make difficult decisions when she learns about Flip's magic.
Jena Gardner
A very good read, creative and engaging. A girl finds a tiny worm that eats words, but whatever he eats disappears. The ramifications of what the girl chooses to have the worm eat are interesting and there is an interesting subplot with cliques. I will share this with my class.
Sophie Muller
I enjoyed the book for the thought process owning the worm involves. Having younger ones think about the consequences of their actions is definitely something worth writing about. I was truly touched when the worm was offered to eat the meanness of the dad... Beautiful scene!
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Born January 3, 1961, in Belvidere, IL; grew up in Libertyville, Illinois; married Ivan Amato (a science writer); children: Maxwell, Simon. Pets: Sorry, none! Favorite food: Chocolate.

I studied special education and dance at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. In graduate school, I studied fiction writing and poetry at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.
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“Words are so wonderful to read, so nourishing to the mind. But really! It's just a fantasy. One doesn't eat words! one reads them” 5 likes
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