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There's a Hair in My Dirt!: A Worm's Story Hardcover – April 15, 1998
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"Dirt for breakfast, dirt for lunch and dirt for dinner! Dirt, dirt, dirt! And look--now there's even a hair in my dirt! The final insult--I can't stand it any longer! I hate being a worm!" It isn't easy being an earthworm, and when one little guy gets mad at a hair in his dinner, Father worm decides to tell him a story. What follows is an ecological fable that combines environmental lessons with the kind of off-the-wall humor that could only come from one man: Gary Larson. Fans of The Far Side have been waiting for Larson's latest work since January 1995 when the final Far Side strip appeared in newspapers around the world, and they won't be disappointed. Father worm tells the story of Harriet, a beautiful but stupid maiden who frolics through the forest enjoying the beauty of nature, but completely failing to understand it. The young earthworm learns that nature is not a cute and cuddly theme park designed for the entertainment of stupid humans, but a complex, fragile, and sometimes violent system where every creature plays a vital role, even the lowly worm.
Larson is never preachy, the text is hilarious, and his illustrations are filled with wonderful sight gags. It may look like a children's book, but there's enough here to keep the most sophisticated adult chuckling for hours. You might learn something, too. --Simon Leake
From School Library Journal
YA-A truly twisted fairy tale that is perfect for teens who enjoy the macabre. In his offbeat and inimitable style, Larson presents a biology lesson through his narrator, an earthworm. During dinner, when a young worm expresses disgust at finding a hair in his dirt as well as at his lot in life as the "lowest of the low," his father tells him a story about a beautiful human maiden, Harriet, who loves nature but doesn't understand it. As she cavorts through the woods, her ignorance produces some unfortunate results including the demise of a land tortoise. The humor and clever illustrations will appeal to YAs while illuminating some realities about wildlife. A charming firefly is observed flashing a prospective mate by opening his raincoat. Harriet feeds a sweet group of squirrels, while behind a tree a lone red squirrel is forced to hand over his acorn to a gang of gray squirrels, one of which is wearing a T-shirt bearing the inscription, "I kicked Thumper's Ass." The story concludes after Harriet saves a mouse; as the vector of a deadly disease, it infects Harriet, who dies and decomposes above the worm family's home, hence the hair in the dirt. Father worm explains that those who romanticize parts of nature while disparaging others fail to understand the inherent interconnections. The little creature regains his self-esteem in the knowledge that lowly worms aerate the earth's soil, preparing it for plant life, thus insuring the existence of the animals that depend on it.
Debra Shumate, Bull Run Regional Library, Manassas,
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
With characteristic candor and capability, Gary Larson takes us on his own version of the slaughterhouse fieldtrip, reminding us of the cutthroat, utilitarian, and utterly unromantic reality of survival in this world. All the while, he helps that bitter pill slide down by coating it with a healthy dose of belly laughs-of the kind that used to make us spit up our coffee when we read The Far Side in the morning paper.
But humans are not the focus of this long-awaited Larson gem (though the main characters are hilariously anthropomorphized-right down to the father "smoking" a pipe filled with dirt). The food being consumed here is not meat but soil, and the young protagonist, an earthworm with adolescent angst, must come to terms with his own role in nature.
With a Zen-like pragmatism and a confidence that comes from his biological background, Larson challenges us to put our species pride aside, and to enjoy this natural world for what it is, not for what we want it to be.
My wife is an elementary school teacher, and I discovered this book on one of the science shelves in her classroom, near the rotting pumpkin and the ant farm. It's a great teaching tool for children, but I would recommend it for students of all ages.
"There's a Hair in My Dirt" is one of those wonderful books that both children and adults will enjoy. In writing it, Gary Larson has shown himself to be a literary genius.