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How to Eat Fried Worms
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How to Eat Fried Worms

(Billy Forrester #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  43,582 ratings  ·  1,023 reviews
People are always daring Billy to do zany things. But Billy may have bitten off more than he can chew when he takes his friend Alan's bet that Billy can't eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. If Billy wins, Alan has to fork over fifty dollars. Billy wants the money to buy a used minibike, so he's ready to dig in. He sets up mustard and ketchup, salt and pepper, and sugar and ...more
Paperback, Movie Tie-In Edition (US/CAN), 118 pages
Published July 2006 by Yearling (first published 1973)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  43,582 ratings  ·  1,023 reviews

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Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
“You’re a bastard!”

That’s what one school-aged child says to another somewhere in this book. I read it in the third grade and I remember very clearly talking to Kevin Petrasek about it, Kevin telling me it was a swear word and me not believing him (I had never heard this word before in my life). So of course I asked Miss Lisak and she decided we should discuss it further in detention.

So anyway, my kid picked up this book at the library today. On my recommendation. I understand they changed later
Although Thomas Rockwell's How to Eat Fried Worms was very much a personal favourite when it was read to me (to our whole class) in grade five, as an adult rereading this novel, I unfortunately feel that How to Eat Fried Worms has lost much if not most of its charm, in other words, that it has not aged all that well. The antics of Billy Forrester and his friends (and of course, his adversaries, his nemeses) now leave me, at best, only very mildly amused, and more often than not rather majorly ...more
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grew-up-with
When we finished this in school, I was in a split first and second grade class. So I was 6 and I remember vividly; The teachers brought us out an Oreo dirt cake with gummy worms. My imagination was so vivid that I thought that stuff was real!
I had not seen gummy worms or Oreo cake yet! So, I was staying far back; not for fear of worms, nah I always rescued them from hot sidewalks or played with them. No shame. I just didn’t fancy eating one.
They gave it to us in a cup and I thought oh gross
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
Category: A Book from your Childhood

3 Stars

I didn’t remember much about this book when I started this re-read. I remember that my mother was more horrified by the prospect of my reading a book titled How to Eat Fried Worms than Billy’s mother seemed to be by the fact her son was eating worms. I remembered thinking that mustard (my second least favourite of all the condiment kingdom) was probably grosser to stomach than fried worms themselves. And that is about it. However, I saw this book in
Mariah Roze
I read this book with my Reading Class. We spent a month listening to the book on tape and filling out a packet that went with it. Afterwords, we watched the movie and did a compare and contrast assignment.
The students rated this book:
1 star = 2 students
3 stars = 3 students
4 stars = 2 student

I personally felt this book was worthy of 3 stars. I found it entertaining and very creative. I completely understand why it is considered a "modern classic," because it is one of the first of its kind.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
A tale I read many moons ago - but was funny. I purchased this for my oldest daughter who said, “Mom, I can’t believe you let me read a book with curse words!.” ...more
Shaun Kellogg
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Ingredients: 50 whole dollar bills, 15 ripe earthworms, 4 young boys, 1 disgusting dare

Combine all ingredients into a small book, carefully mix with witty dialogue, stir in unforgettable characters, add a dash of nausea, a pinch of mischief and generously sprinkle with humorous chapters. Let stand for fifteen days, remove from bookshelf and enjoy in large helpings.

How to Eat Fried Worms is a recipe for fun, laughter and possibly an upset stomach. However, it is sure to please even the pickiest
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Meh. Got to page 38 and just couldn’t anymore. Did read bits to someone who was once a boy the age of those in this book are they said that “grown-up” boys are much the same. So it gets two stars for realism, but it’s not quite for me. I think I’m in a book-slump, so it’s not the book on this one. I am not quite the demographic for this story. Some kids books work well for adults, but I don’t think this is one of them.
Katie McGaha
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Thomas Rockwell’s How to Eat Fried Worms is about a group of young boys who have made a bet. The book is about Bill and his two friends Alan and Joe. Billy is a normal kid with no money who wants a new motorbike and to earn the money for it his two friends bet $50 that he can’t eat 15 worms in 15 days. So on the day one of the bet Alan and Joe bring Billy a worm which has been boiled in mustard, horseradish and ketchup. Billy struggles to eat the first worm but manages to get it all down and ...more
Originally posted here as part of the 30 Day Book Challenge.

Wow, who knew this question would be so difficult? I remember lots of books I read when I was a kid, but I think this was the first chapter book I read on my own.

The First Novel I Remember Reading

I had no idea they'd made a movie of this book! I am kind of afraid to watch it.

Man, 6 year old sj LOVED this book. To this day, every time I see a mini-bike, I think of this chanty song:

Trout, Salmon, flounder, perch,
I'll ride my minibike
Alyssa Nelson
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was short, sweet, and hilarious! I can just imagine 10-year-old boys making this sort of bet with each other. I admit, the part where he at the worms was kind of gross, but I enjoyed all the ways he tried to make the worm appetizing. It was also funny seeing how the other two try to trick Billy into losing the bet (and there are a couple of good tricks).

I do have to say that this book is somewhat dated. Written in 1973, some of the phrases used and attitudes of the parents/children
Becky Straub
Oct 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Audiobook: listened to this with my 9yo son on a road trip. I have memories of loving it as a kid, and he ended up loving it as well, however, as a grownup it's not as awesome as my memory of the story.
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Highly entertaining! I read this aloud with my son who also really enjoyed it. Be warned that if you have an older edition of this book (mine was published in the 1970s) that one kid calls another kid a "bastard." When we got to that part my son, who's 8, said, "I thought you said this was a book for KIDS!" I said, "It is, but it was written in the 1970s, and things were a lot different then." Ha!
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell is a very humorous story about a group of young boys and a dare. Billy dares that he can eat fifteen worms in fifteen days, and if he does, Alan will pay him $50 out of his savings account that he has earned. Billy is enticed by this offer because with $50, he could buy a minibike. Once the bet was on, Alan and Tom would pick the worms and Billy could eat them any way he wanted; this included anything and everything from ketchup and mustard, to rolled in ...more
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a true American classic, a great children's book from the 1970's. I first read it when I was a fourth grader back in 1976. The premise is a bet to eat 15 worms in 15 days. I was initially repulsed at the idea of eating worms but inspired by the idea of winning the fifty dollar bet to buy a mini-bike. In fact, later that summer I did yard work to earn the money for my first "mini-bike" a 1974 Honda CT 70.
Eating worms was just too gross.
This book has a history of being placed on the banned
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: older-kids
This is a great book. It all starts with a bet over whether Billy can eat fifteen worms in fifteen days--one worm a day. It turns into a mini Lord of the Flies with his opponents (Alan and Joe) doing whatever they can to win. Lots of twists and turns here!
Also lots to chew on--would you cheat to win a bet? How far would you go to win a bet? Should the parents get involved or stay out of it? What would YOU do for fifty dollars? (Since this was written in 1973, I imagine it would be more like
Yumi Learner
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as my 8th book this year to improve my reading skills in English. The story was really gross, but the idea was very interesting. While I was reading, I sometimes imagined that I was eating some fried worms. That made me feel sick.

A couple of days ago, when I Skyped with my friend from Texas, he advised me that to make reading books in English every single day my hobbits, I mark a circle on a calender after reading. While adding the circles, it makes a chain. The chain
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Billy makes a bet that he can eat fifteen worms in fifteen days - there is fifty pounds at stake!
This is a hilarious story written in such an original way as to make your stomach churn and laugh as each chapter takes you closer to his target. It will both revolt and delight you and I can imagine children making gagging noises as you read it to them!

This book would be brilliant to read to a class, leaving them wanting more at the end of each chapter! Good to discuss descriptive writing and how
Susan many books and so little time
My students and I read this is good...but at times it is difficult to read...some words are hard to figure out... My class and I are going to watch the movie...I heard its good... There are some great and funny passages in this book...I do recommend it...but I also,recommend doing a good job helping the students understand some words being used...make it great adventures in vocabulary!!! Hugs to all!!!
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was another book I shared on audio with my son. It was an excellent book to share with him. The story behind "How to Eat Fried Worms" was quite easy to follow and I was able to use it as a learning tool for my 6th grade boy.
I like how it showed his Mom getting involved and baking the worms....something I'd never do, but it was quite funny.
Will P.
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is grouse yet awesome at the same time. The character are Billy, The Bully, Adam, twitch, Techno, Plug, Bradley, and Irk. Billy has to eat 15 worms

I really liked this book but I would not recommend this book to any squeamish people. This book really was grouse, But it was a good book
Timothy D
Oct 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jake B
Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is about a boy that gets in a bet that he can't eat 15 worms in 15 days and how his friend tries to trick him.
I thought this book is good for younger kid that like to read and older kids that need a book to read
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: school-age, kids-club
Didn't like this as a kid but as an adult I loved the scenes of the glee of getting up to trouble when kids are unsupervised. Used this as a read-aloud with 5th graders and they loved the gross descriptions and the old timey (1980's) vocabulary lesson.
Melissa Massello
I picked up a used copy of this book at Goodwill a few years back and re-read it. Definitely not as good as it was when I was in single digits. :)

Can't wait to hand it off to the nephews.
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I used this book for a 4th grade book club and they really loved it. We were able to break it down in small chunks for them to "digest" at eat meeting. It is just gross enough to even make reluctant 4th grade boys want to join a book club. I read it when I was in the 4th grade as a child, and I enjoyed it just as much reading it again today. *And as a side note, I picked up on some of the funny things I missed as a child. Ha!
Rebekah Byson
Sep 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
I did not read this book as a child. So I have no warm and fuzzy memories of the boy eating worms for a bet. I decided to try this as a read aloud. It was funny at first and had the kids laughing, but then it simply got odd. The writing is a bit disjointed. The connection between the WW2 chapter titles and the story vague. The violence and language and bullying that the 4 boys inflict on each other over the top and annoying. The book felt dated and irrelevant. My kids were not fans either.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
While my 4yo and 6yo were not impressed, I loved the nostalgic feel of this book. I remember that I liked this book as a kid, though I didn’t remember much. The best part is the dialogue—so raw and real, just like boys talk. Delightful. The writing isn’t wonderful; It almost reads like a play, but it’s a fun, quick read.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it
It was a pretty good book. Honestly though, I think the fact that I love the movie kind of made me dislike how different they are. I know, I know the book came first. But I still really liked the book even how different it was.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this one to my younger lot. 11 and 9 year olds. They seemed to enjoy it, but didn’t quite get the older slang and verbiage. Still, an enjoyable read.
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Thomas Rockwell (son of the American artist, Norman Rockwell) is the author of a number of books for young readers. He was the recipient of the Mark Twain Award, the California Young Reader Medal, and the Sequoyah Award for How to Eat Fried Worms, which was made into a TV movie in 1985 and was filmed as a theatrical release in 2006. He lives in Poughkeepsie, New York.


Other books in the series

Billy Forrester (3 books)
  • How to Fight a Girl (Billy Forrester, #2)
  • How to Get Fabulously Rich (Billy Forrester, #3)