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Darwin’s Super–Pooping Worm Spectacula by Polly Owen, Illustrated by Gwen Millward


Poor old Charles Darwin. He’d wowed the world with his epic theory of evolution, but when he became obsessed with earthworms, some thought he’d gone a bit doolally.


He was absolutely fascinated by these dirt-digging creatures, which were, at the time, considered pests; they were thought to kill plants, damage soil and mess up gardens. But Darwin was determined to prove the naysayers wrong.


From his experiments, he learned that worms don’t have vision nor hearing, but are able to detect light and vibrations through sensors in their skin. He also learned that, in the absence of teeth, they ate stones and sand to help digest their food.


But it wasn’t until one worm did an almighty dump - three inches high! - that Darwin realised: poo was their superpower! He measured their casts and even used stones at Stonehenge to work out how much poo worms added to soil over time. He discovered worm poo was the best thing for creating strong, healthy plants; worms were “nature’s plough”, digging, aerating and churning the soil while fertilising with their poo.


This is such a terrific book for demonstrating to tamariki the transformative effect of scientific observation - as well as the power of perseverance. And who doesn’t like to have a good giggle about poo? The engaging and lively illustrations are the icing on the cake.


Reviewer: Stacey Anyan

Penguin Random House


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