Simone Lia

JAB South


Today, members of JAB South met to discuss the books that they have been reading this term. Out two books were 'Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure' by Alex T Smith and 'They Didn't Teach Us This in Worm School' by Simone Lia.


Teas and hot chocolates made, packets of biscuits opened, we were ready to settle down to the wonderful business of discussing books. We started with 'Mr Penguin'- which we all loved. It's a great first chapter book, perfect for engaging the reader, and giving them a satisfying, beautiful book to carry round. One colleague said, 'For a Year 2 teacher, it's bang on!'


Funny for both adults and children, it was agreed that 'Mr Penguin' would also make an excellent read aloud. Colin, Mr Penguin's spider sidekick, was a huge hit-so funny!- and everybody loved the illustrations. 

Everyone also felt that it could also be used as a Quality Text, offering lots of opportunities for inspiring writing and developing vocabulary whilst be great fun so we have decided to work on creating this! So well done, Mr Smith- a huge hit! 


'They Didn't Teach this at Worm School' was one of our shortlisted titles in last year's awards. Several of our members have now read this to classes and it has been a great success. Not only is it a very funny story with wonderfully comic illustrations, it also is a lovely story about friendship and coming to understand others. It was felt that this is a read aloud that can be enjoyed with a whole range of classes as different aged children will respond differently.  Great fun! 


We finished the session by choosing our books for our next meeting. 'The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole' by Michelle Cuevas and 'Kick' by Mitch Johnson. We might need tissues...

It was a lovely meeting. The time races past and all too soon we're heading off again! If anyone would like to join us, please email for details about when and where! 

LONGLIST REVIEW: They Didn't Teach This in Worm School!

This is the wonderfully wacky story of an improbable friendship between Marcus, a worm (favourite colour brown, likes other worms, very fond of pickled onions) and Lawrence, a bird (thinks he’s a flamingo- looks more like a chicken – amazing tap dancer).

To save himself from being Lawrence’s breakfast, Marcus starts a conversation with rather unexpected consequences -a journey to ‘Kenya’ later and our heroes have learnt about happiness and acceptance and deliver a surprisingly moving message on how to be a good friend.

‘They Didn’t Teach This in Worm School’ is an ideal class and home read aloud. The quirky, yet extremely likeable characters, the surreal plot (ANYTHING can happen – and does!) and the witty illustrations that support the text perfectly, make for lots of chuckles and the occasional belly laugh.

However, Simone Lia’s book is more than just a comic read- it also gives us an unlikely role model in Marcus. Quick-thinking, courageous, loyal and lovable -everyone needs a friend like Marcus and everyone should try to be a friend like him too.

I can’t wait to read ‘They Didn’t Teach This in Worm School’ at story time- so excuse me while I brush up on my beatboxing….Pbt Pbt Pbt Pbt…….

They Didn’t Teach This In Worm School by Simone Lia

Walker Books      ISBN 978-1406346503

A worm's eye view!

Trying to avoid being eaten for breakfast by a bird that looks like a chicken (but isn't!), Marcus the worm calls, 'Good morning!' and with those two words plunges himself into an adventure he wasn't counting on having!

Laurence (the bird who isn't a chicken) thinks he's a flamingo (which he isn't) and wants to go to Kenya to find his fellow flamingoes. Eager to avoid being eaten, Marcus (who knows he's a worm) agrees to be Laurence's navigator and show him the way to Lake Nakuru National Park.

And so begins a beautiful friendship...

This is an extremely funny, light-hearted tale which introduces the reader to a whole host of comic characters. The pair might never reach their goal, but they learn a huge amount about themselves- and each other- on the way.

The perfect read aloud for a class that likes a laugh!

They Didn't Teach this in Worm School      Simone Lia

Walker   ISBN: 978-1406346503