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Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer

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Winnie Finn is crazy about earthworms and knows everything about them. When spring arrives in Quincy County, all she can think about is the county fair coming up. This year, she would like nothing more than to win a prize for her worms so that she might buy a shiny new wagon for transporting them around. Trouble is, there's no prize at the fair for worms . . . Bright, energetic illustrations accompany this jaunty tale about a young girl's creativity that will inspire readers of all interests― but especially those with a love for something wiggly.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published August 4, 2009

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About the author

Carol Brendler

5 books27 followers
Carol is the author of WINNIE FINN, WORM FARMER, a picture book illustrated by Ard Hoyt (FSG) and RADIO GIRL, an upper-middle grade (or YA) novel about a girl caught in the middle of the 1938 "War of the Worlds" panic broadcast, Holiday House, 2013. NOT VERY SCARY, a picture book illustrated by Greg Pizzoli is slated for release in August, 2014 (FSG), and another picture book is forthcoming from Clarion, date TBD! Carol holds a Master's Degree in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Find out way more at www.carolbrendlerbooks.com

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Heidi.
132 reviews5 followers
August 26, 2010
My 3 year old daughter has recently fallen in love with worms. We have had several rainstorms lately and she is fascinated by the worms that appear once the rain stops. When I saw the book "Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer" on the new arrivals shelf at the library, I took it home. It proved to be a good choice. The illustrations are wonderful. The fictional story contains multiple true life facts about worms and it is the story of a girl who uses her brains and know-how to accomplish something that all the adults she runs into say isn't possible. This is a perfect story for kids!
Profile Image for Alyssa Baxter .
50 reviews2 followers
November 12, 2019
This book was about a creative problem solver, Winnie Fin. She is observant and loves worms. This book can teach students about problem solving and science. I would use this to introduce the scientific method or to help teach students about problem solving. The illustrations are detailed and full of expression. It could inspire children to do their own research or inspire a love for science. There are facts about worms at the end of the book, which is super interesting. The word choice allows readers with some experience. I would say the reading level would be around a second-grade level. I think it is fun to show a girl getting dirty and playing outside because not all girls are girly. I have not seen a lot of books with this type of character and I am sure my students will too. She did not sit around pouting that she could not win a prize for her worms. Instead, she helps others win by being creative and using her worms. She did not let others discourage her either.
Profile Image for Michael Polder.
24 reviews
August 29, 2019
I thought it was a cute and entertaining read, but not for a 4-7 year old range. My daughter, who is seven, had difficultly with some of the characters names and some words throughout the book. I was entertained by the feel good story of having a plan and sticking to your goals. Winnie Finn was a great character and I would look for other books that had Winnie Finn in the title.
40 reviews
March 28, 2022
This book has such an awesome message behind it. To never give up even when people tell you it’s impossible. I absolutely loved this book. Winnie Finn let her brain run wild and helped some community members win 1st place in the County Fair thanks to her love for worms. She didn’t give up even when people told her she couldn’t do anything with worms. Such a great read!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jannah.
Author 1 book8 followers
May 31, 2017
I wish I'd had this book on hand when we made worm farms last week!
A wealth of information told in via a cute story. Winnie reminds me of some composting families in my community, and I love her passion for her wriggly friends.
40 reviews
February 21, 2023
I think this book is extremely creative and it gives a friendly reminder to be conscious about the environment and explained how composting can benefit everyone. I think this would be great to read to a young kindergarten class and then do a project about composting and make their own worm bins.
65 reviews
August 21, 2018
Great book to show kids how compost can help with many things and how eco-systems have many parts that make them work.
Profile Image for Roy Reed.
1 review
September 13, 2016
Winnie is not your stereotypical picture book heroine. She is industrious, creative, and she has a penchant for slimy things that eat chicken droppings. She is an expert on everything worm, thanks to the hours she spends studying them, rescuing them, and racing them.

Now, Winnie has a dilemma. She needs a new wagon, her efforts at repair being stop-gap at best. She’d love to win some prize money at the local fair, but there are no prizes for worms. Only for corn crops, chicken eggs, and puppy litters.

No matter. Winnie also knows a thing or two about business. Look for a need and fill it. And, as the saying goes, if you can make money doing what you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.

Winnie Finn is a great example of childhood ingenuity and resilience, as well as a role model for delaying gratification and setting goals. With her worm farm and her diligence, she helps her neighbours achieve their dreams, and then she shares in their success.

New wagon, here she comes!

Adding to the story and character building, the illustrations by Ard Hoyt are cartoony and quirky. He fills in the gaps that must be left out from a picture book manuscript, such as the fact that Winnie’s parents own a flower shop, and that Winnie is her own person with her own style. Plus, Ard likes to put a few sight gags into his work, letting Winnie’s cat provide some background comic relief.

I use this book in my primary classroom every year. It fits perfectly with the Ontario grade 3 science curriculum about plants and soils, and grade 4 for habitats.

Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer was selected for the 2014 Illinois Reads literacy initiative. Carol Brendler is also the author of Not Very Scary, and the novel Radio Girl. Check out her web page.
54 reviews
November 4, 2012
Winnie Fin is seriously crazy about earthworms. She knows all kinds of facts, such as how long they are and how many heads they have. She loves exploring in Quincy County squirmy worms under rocks and on sidewalks. Winnie Fin desperately wants to win a prize and the country fair that is coming up. This year, she would like nothing more than to win a prize for her worms so that she can buy a new shinny wagon for transporting all of them around. The only problem is though, is that there is no prize at the fair for worms. So Winnie Fin decides to make a worm farm. This smelly worm farm contributed to Mr. Abernathy as Winnie Fin told him to spread the worm fertilizer around his crops. For a thank you gift, Winnie received a few ears of corn. Then, Winnie Fin used the corn and offered it to Mrs. Yamasaki-O'Sherdain hens so that she would have plenty of fresh eggs for omelets the size of rubber rafts for breakfast! Sure enough, her hens were laying so many eggs. For a thank you gift, Winnie Fin received eggs. She then gave these eggs to Mr. Peasly to out into his puppies food. Sooner than later, these puppies had coats smooth and sleek and slipper satin. On the day of the Quincy County Fair, thanks to Winnie Fin, Mr. Abernathy, Mrs. Yamasaki-O'Sherdain and Mr. Peasley all took first place! Thanks for Winnie Fin and her worm farm, she was able to buy the best new wagon in Quincy County.

This story had bright and energetic illustrations to accompany this jaunty tale about a young girl's creativity.
Profile Image for Graywaren.
140 reviews39 followers
February 9, 2015
What a cute book. I love that it's about a girl and worms! As a girl who loved nature and was never afraid of bugs, worms, or snakes as a child I love seeing books where girls get along with the squiggly-wigglies and the wigglies themselves are the good guys. In this book they're not only the stars, but they help out the community. It definitely highlighted the way different things in the food and growing system and business are connected too.

The illustrations are adorable and I especially love the beat up old wagon with a rollerskate for a wheel. The opening illustration of the girl cuddling the worm had me giggling and saying awwww. All of the characters were well done and I liked the variety in their appearances. Overall this is a great story, especially for those considering worm farming or learning about worms.

Nitpick note: Two details in this book that would be completely unimportant to children by that bother me are the fact that corn, especially today's corn, is really not that good for chickens and someone who's breeding dogs should already know about eggs and a raw diet being superbly good for their puppies so I found the detail of the dog breeder thinking the girl clever for the eggs thing unbelievable. But as I said both of those details are minor and I'm just super picky about that type of thing. I'll still be buying the book and having the author sign it!

Profile Image for Paula.
Author 1 book214 followers
December 8, 2009
Here's one to keep in mind when selection season rolls around, at least IF your school does a soil unit, OR a food webs unit, OR plants a garden on school property somewhere, OR teaches about composting. So, yes, that means YOUR school. Certainly MY schools.

Winnie Finn is a worm aficionado. Knows all the funky facts about worms. Would like broader recognition of her area of expertise. Starts thinking about the county fair. Realizes that, no, you can't pin a blue ribbon on a worm... but she can get a share of the prize money by helping her friends and neighbors with their projects. She constructs a worm composter out of cast-off items, feeds it with table scraps and chicken poop, and soon has rich worm castings, which she gives to the corn farmer in exchange for corn, which she hands over to the chicken lady in exchange for eggs that she passes along to a dog breeder. All three win prizes and share their winnings with Winnie, who invests in new equipment and is well on her way to becoming a tycoon in the new barter economy.

Ard Hoyt's illustrations, are, as usual, lively and fun, with cute details (Winnie's cat is not as enthusiastic about worms as Winnie is). Winnie herself is bright-eyed and tomboyish, but with beads around her neck and a flower on her orange visor.

Shelved as a picture book, but worth remembering as a curriculum support.
Profile Image for The Library Lady.
3,587 reviews522 followers
October 10, 2009
I am a worm farmer myself and would have loved this book wholeheartedly and shared it with my 10 year old daughter and fellow worm enthusiast.
But I won't.

What is going on with book editors and Asian stereotypes? First I read a book by Rachel Isadora, one of my favorite authors, and she pictures Chinese Americans with slant eyes like something in "The Five Chinese Brothers", and now this book offers us "Mrs Yamasaki O'Sheridan", who goes around on a modern American farm dressed up in a kimona and geta, with chopsticks in her hair!
(And since she speaks perfect, fluent English, I assume she's Nisei at least)

It's a stereotype, and it spoils the book for me.
Profile Image for Amanda.
2,213 reviews10 followers
July 6, 2010
This is a great book and is another that bridges the gap between fiction and non easily and well. Winnie likes worms, but there isn't a Best Worm Award at the county fair, so she helps out other people who are able to compete at the fair with her amazing knowledge and care of her worms. A great read for kids who like to know how things work ie making soil more fertile, making hens better egg layers, making dogs' coats shiny. Also a good lesson in cooperation, helping your neighbors and sharing in the reward.
32 reviews
February 26, 2015
I had fun reading Winnie the Worm Farmer. The main character, Winnie is a character with passion and uses others to help her achieve her goal. I like how she incorporated everyone in on her plan because we all know that its hard to do things on our own. The purpose of this read aloud would be to teach children ages k-3rd that we sometimes need to rely on others and teamwork is the best way. It has some information about earthworms in the beginning of the book that would be good to point out for a science unit. I also enjoyed the illustrations and vibrant colors that were used.
Profile Image for Samantha.
2,886 reviews9 followers
September 24, 2010
Chickadee Nominee 2010-2011

While I am not very fond of earthworms myself (in the sense that I quite fine not touching them, thank you, but very grateful for the work they do in the soil) this book made it easy for me to identify with Winnie Finn, who does. I liked her creative way of getting involved in the fair, since it doesn't have an earthworm category. I did find it a little strange, however, that Mrs. Yamasaki-O'Sheridan was in stereotypical clothing that was a little off-putting.
Profile Image for Jeanette.
17 reviews
March 7, 2016
I loved this book and the illustrations. Could not stop laughing at the sight of Winnie holding up a worm with such joy on her face or of her walking with a worm in her little wagon. I thought this book was good in showing that even girls like really gross things. It brought back many happy childhood memories of when I would go out with a flashlight and search for night crawlers. Winnie Finn is a delightful character and also a very ingenious little girl.
Profile Image for Marie.
343 reviews6 followers
October 26, 2009
Winnie Finn thinks outside the box! This is the story of how a clever kid who loves worms makes her "fortune" by helping those who scoff at her. As everyone tries to go more green, kids can learn how important worms are. An afterward gives clear instruction on how to create your own worm farm, a project that even young children can handle, with a little supervision.
21 reviews
April 18, 2012
This book explores a girl who isn't afraid of getting dirty and playing with worms which is what most elementary students would love to do. It talks about how she has to be creative and use her imagination in order to submit an exhibit at the fair. I think this is a great way to let kids read about things they are interested in.
Profile Image for Molly.
1,468 reviews9 followers
April 21, 2010
I love the new crop of books popping up featuring composting, worms,and more. This one is really cute, and maybe you could get your kids interested in starting a worm farm- it could really help your garden!
Profile Image for Beth.
1,390 reviews
April 30, 2010
Winnie Finn enjoys her worms and helps all the farm show hopefuls with her worms and has no plans of stopping. Children also learn some curious facts about worms including that they have five hearts and the largest earthworm is longer than ten feet in length.
Profile Image for Trent Reedy.
Author 11 books206 followers
September 7, 2011
"Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer" is a brilliantly funny story with plenty of great information about worms. The author Carol Brendler know just about everything there is to know about worms, and she often does the most amazing school visits, putting on quite a show for the young children.
Profile Image for Naomi.
4,683 reviews140 followers
August 3, 2014
While this book was cute and I love the go get 'em, problem resolution of the story; however, it didn't capture my attention. It was cute, but I have def. read better with those lessons. The illustrations really failed to stand out to me, as well.
Profile Image for Kristen.
Author 2 books19 followers
September 21, 2009
Not being a huge worm fan, I was surprised at how much I liked this book! Cool information in a good story - the best way to learn stuff, in my opinion.
Profile Image for N.
910 reviews13 followers
October 22, 2009
I have to agree with another reviewer, sure the story is fine, it features a clever girl who digs worms- but why is the Japanese neighbor dressed like a geisha?
Profile Image for Krish.
47 reviews1 follower
February 19, 2011
Great book for predictions. Cool science connections for soil.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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