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The Word Eater

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  714 ratings  ·  104 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,228)
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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
We read and enjoyed this as a family read-aloud when my kids were about 5 & 7 or so. I'm surprised that I've forgotten to review it before now. My family knows the author, who has written lots of well-reviewed books.
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
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
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
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
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.
May have liked it if I read this as a child, but parts of it contrived. Somewhat glad there's no love triangle - tired of reading about romance in almost every book, even children and YA -_-
I really liked this book! I didn't think I would, but it turned out to be really interesting. Surprisingly, it's about power. The power one girl has over her classmates and the cosmic power one worm has over the universe. Highly recommended.
Ashley Minnnich
I'm currently going through my elementary school logs and adding all my books. I don't remember several of them, but I remember this book being a very entertaining read!
Bea Bolinger
A fast read, good character development and conversation worthy moral dilemmas. A good selection for struggling readers.
Began a little slow but was a cute story with some great talking points for a kids' book club.
This was summer reading for school (5th grade I think). Both of my kids enjoyed this story.
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
A bit of what kids go through at school mixed with a little bit of magic. L liked it.
Layla Ellis
This book first presented me with a decent story. By the end I was nearly in tears!
it is really gross because who eats words ps do not eat words
A wonderful book from my childhood.
This was an excellent read!
Loved this book as a kid
Kellianne Copeland
It was a cute book.
It was a very good book
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.
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.
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.
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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” 7 likes
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