How To Eat Fried Worms
How to Eat Fried Worms is a children's book written by Thomas Rockwell, first published in 1973. The novel's plot involves a boy eating worms as part of a bet. It has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association's list of most commonly challenged books in the United States of 1990-2000 at number 96. It was later turned into a CBS Storybreak episode in the mid-1980s, and a movie of the same name in 2006.
How to Eat Fried Worms
Billy Forrester accepts a bet from his rival Alan Phelps to eat one worm per day for 15 days, with $50 at stake for the winner. He uses condiments such as ketchup, mustard, and horseradish to disguise the taste of the worms, and his friend Tom Grout assists by frying them to make them more appetizing. Alan and his friend Joe O'Hara try a variety of tactics to keep Billy from eating each day's worm, to no avail. Billy's parents eventually learn about the bet, but decide to support him and even help by preparing some of the worms. On the last day of the bet, Billy discovers that Alan and Joe have given him a fake worm made of beans. They lock him in a closet and plan to lower him into a water cistern so that he cannot win, but Billy's father sends them home and orders Billy to go to his room before he can eat a worm he has found. Tom's younger brother brings him another one, which he eats in view of Alan and Joe to win the bet.
Billy buys a minibike with his winnings, while Alan begins working at a store to earn back the $50 he lost. Billy meets Tom and Joe for lunch in the woods and reveals, to his chagrin, that he has actually started to enjoy eating worms and cannot stop.
At lunch, Billy opens his thermos and pours out a pile of live earthworms. Sickened, he almost vomits. Joe asks Billy if he eats worms. Billy says "I eat them all the time", then throws a worm at Joe's face. A nerd named Adam Simms was sure that Joe was going to punch Billy with "The Death Ring"; it is rumored that whoever Joe punches it with dies in 8th grade.
Joe, Plug, and Benjy catch up with Billy as he heads home. Joe proposes a bet: Billy will eat ten worms on the coming Saturday without throwing up, or he will have to walk around the school with worms in his pants. Billy knows that he cannot back out of the bet, so he accepts.
The next day, Billy is teamed up with Adam. While the boys cook the first worm "Le Big Porker" in the park they are chased by a park ranger for using a grill without adult supervision. Adam then takes them to his uncle Ed's restaurant The Brown Toad, and cooks up the second worm in an omelet. However, his uncle takes the omelette and gives it to their principal who then eats it. Adam then has to cook the second and third worms again, dubbing the creation "The Greasy Brown Toad Bloater Special," (where he dunks the worms in the fryer and smears liver juice on them). When Ed discovers the worms, he kicks the boys out of his restaurant. After Billy eats the fourth worm, "The Burning Fireball," and burns his mouth, Twitch and Techno-Mouth quit Joe's team and become his new best friends. Billy, Techno-Mouth, Twitch, and Adam then go to a convenience store. They find Adam playing Dance Dance Revolution, and one of the boys spills his drink, causing the machine to blow up and they get kicked out. At the playground, Billy eats the next three worms, "Magni-Fried," "Barfmallo," and "Peanut Butter and Worm Jam Sandwich."
After dinner, the boys go to a bait shop, where Billy eats the next two worms, "The Green Slusher" and "Radioactive Slime Delight," (where Donny puts the worm in the microwave) while the owner is out, but her unexpected return leads to her briefly chasing them for breaking into her bait shop. Erika is able to use her archery skills to get the final worm needed to Billy. After Joe cheats in an attempt to keep Billy from eating the last worm, "Worm A La Mud," by throwing into a brook, all of his gang turns on him and encourage Billy to go after it. He manages to do so and eats it before the deadline. Nigel Guire, Joe's brother, tries to bully and humiliate Joe; but Billy and the rest of the gang stand up for him, telling Nigel to leave him alone, and he leaves.
After thinking it over that night, Billy returns to school. He explains to Joe that the second worm was eaten by their principal, Burdock, when Adam accidentally put it in his omelet at the Brown Toad. They come to the conclusion neither of them technically won so they both put a bunch of worms down their pants and walk through the hallway. They are then interrupted by Burdock, who nearly catches them when a worm falls out of Billy's pants, which Joe covers up with his shoe. After Burdock returns to his office, the kids all run outside and celebrate as Billy and Joe both take the worms out of their pants and throw them into the air.
Though the film and the book share the concept about a bet between boys to eat earthworms, the nature of the situation differs significantly. In the book, the characters consist of four boys who are friends hanging around during the summertime. Billy has to eat fifteen worms in fifteen days, and the terms of the bet are fifty dollars, which he intends to use to buy a dirt bike.
Many of the film's subplots, that he is new in school, that Joe is a bully, that Billy has a weak stomach, and that Joe threatens him with a Death Ring, do not appear in the book. Unlike in the film, his parents eventually find out about the bet, which he ultimately wins instead of tying. All the worms he eats in the book are nightcrawlers, and Erika, the girl who helps him in the film, is not introduced until the book's sequel, How to Fight a Girl.
Parents need to know that this movie is gross, which is probably why it will appeal to fourth-graders everywhere. There's also some crude potty humor and mild profanity, as well as name-calling and bullying. But the message is straightforward and simple: It's okay to stand up for yourself, and sometimes, you have to eat worms (or in grown-up terms, do something you don't want to do) in order to gain the courage needed to get by in this crazy world.
Based on Thomas Rockwell's popular 1973 book, this movie revolves around 11-year-old Billy (Luke Benward), who ticks off the school bully, Joe (Adam Hicks) on his first day at a new school. When Billy opens his thermos to reveal a mess o' worms, Joe asks him if he eats worms a lot. "Yeah, I eat 'em all the time," says Billy. "Ya wanna try one?" Billy tosses one of the slimy creatures to the bully, but it lands smack on his face. Thus begins a challenge in which Billy must eat ten worms in a day, without throwing up. Whoever loses has to put worms down their pants and walk through school in front of everyone. The recipes get creative, with various preparation methods and names like Barfmallow and Radioactive Slime Delight. Meanwhile, Billy's dad (Thomas Cavanagh) struggles with his new job; his mom (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is busy looking after his younger brother (Ty Panitz); and adorably gawky Erika (Hallie Kate Eisenberg) understands Billy because she towers above her classmates.
Families can talk about the best way to fit into a new situation. What's the best way to make friends? How can you help new kids feel welcome? Was Billy right to mouth off at the school bully on his first day at school? Should he have taken the challenge to eat the worms? How could he have handled it differently? What could his parents have done to help him out? What was the real reason for Joe's bullying?
Are you here after a supposedly cruel dare? Perhaps you've made a bet with someone or are trying to prove yourself? Or maybe you just feel like eating worms! Whatever the reason, you're going to want to eat them in the nicest way possible! Read on to find out how to best eat them.
In the film version, the topic of eating worms is first raised by a sick prank that Joe (Adam Hicks), here a rotten bully, plays on Billy (Luke Benward), here the new boy. (Alan, the main antagonist in the book, is nowhere to be found.) After an absurdly humiliating first morning in school, Billy opens his Thermos in the cafeteria only to find it filled with dozens of nightcrawlers.
Two desert tortoises, named Max and Tex, were used interchangeably for the opening scene, which goes from animation into live action. The sequence implies that a family runs over a turtle as they drive down the road. This footage was actually shot in a secure parking lot where the turtle was filmed crawling toward a yellow line while the off-screen trainer held fresh vegetables to entice the reptile. The filmmakers used both real and fake worms throughout the movie. Worms shown coming out of a thermos were real, as were those seen in a pile on a counter. These worms were purchased from a bait store and returned when the filming was over. Most of the worms that appear in the film were not real; they were made of either rubber, gelatin and food coloring, or mushroom stems during the cooking sequences. An air hose placed inside some of the gelatin worms made them wriggle and appear quite realistic. The worms that the boys place down their pants were fake. The shot of a bird on the grass eating a worm came from stock footage purchased by the production.
I was very much a mischeivious, neighborhood-dwelling little trash goblin when I was young. Thus, stories about groups of kids having wacky adventures in neighbourhood type settings was always something that appealed to me. I would often re-create things I saw in movies and on TV with my friends, Jackass style. Though I never did attempt to eat any fried worms.
Because of a bet, Billy is in the uncomfortable position of having to eat 15 worms in 15 days. The worms are supplied by his opponent, whose motto is "the bigger and juicier, the better"! At first Billy's problem is whether or not he can swallow the worm placed before him, even with a choice of condiments from peanut butter to horseradish. But later it looks as if Billy will win, and the challenge becomes getting to the worm to eat it. Billy's family, after checking with the doctor, takes everything in stride. They even help Billy through his gastronomic ordeal, which twists and turns with each new day, leaving the outcome of the bet continually in doubt. 041b061a72