Billy makes a bet. He bets that he can eat worms (fifteen in fifteen days in the book, ten in one day in the movie). The worms are selected and prepared by his opponent. Billy doesn't have the best stomach and he's not sure he can handle what he's gotten himself into - especially when extra gross condiments and concoctions are involved. Billy pushes through though and eventually the challenge becomes not if he can keep it down, but if he can get to the last worm in time to finish the bet.
(The movie focuses on Billy proving himself as the new kid in school by showing up the school bully. He learns about making friends and playing fair along the way. The book sets Billy's motivation for the bet as $50 he can put towards a new minibike. The book's funny rhymes and chants don't make it to the movie either.)__________________________________________________________________________
How to Eat Fried Worms (2006) - Rated PG - 1 hr 38 min
Starring: Luke Benward, Adam Hicks, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Austin Rogers, Kimberly Williams, Tom Cavanagh
Directed by: Bob Dolman Screenplay by: Bob Dolman
Genre: Comedy, Kids/Family __________________________________________________________________________
How to Eat Fried Worms (1973) - 128 pages
Author: Thomas Rockwell
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Humorous, Reading Level: Ages 9-12
I saw this movie with my 5 yr old earlier this week. I was a little worried about what she'd think of the bullying aspect of the movie - if it would scare her since she was starting kindergarten the next day. It was great though because it gave us a chance to talk about bullying and how kids shouldn't be mean to each other like that. It was a fun movie. She really enjoyed it and I did too.
It's been so long since I read the book (I remember that I loved it!) that I couldn't really compare the movie to it. All of the reviews I've read out there don't really try to either. From what I can tell there are definitely some differences though - 15 worms in 15 days vs. 10 in 1 day being the most obvious. But that's an acceptable concession given the time constraints of movies.
Bullying is not the motivation for the worm bet in the book either, from what I can tell, but no one seems bothered by the discrepancy. The movie presents such positive and good life lessons about bullies and making friends that it works on its own despite the differences. This movie to me, although it seems to depart from the book, is still true to the spirit, and especially the fun, of the book. Both are equally good stories in their own ways. Enjoy them both and just have fun!