Horacek's artwork often draws comparisons to that of Eric Carle, and this story's bold collages, die-cuts, and ravenous animal protagonists are suggestive of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Jonathan and Martha, two worms who live on opposite sides of a tree, are both lonely—and hungry. When a marbled green pear drops from the tree, "Jonathan nibbled from the left. Martha nibbled from the right.... And this is how they met!" The worms scuffle, which results in their tails becoming inextricably entangled. Knotted together, they are forced to share everything ("They had no other choice. Jonathan and Martha had to stay together") from a giant watermelon to a cherry. Their fate takes a gruesome turn when a blue-black feathered bird pecks off their tails, separating their bodies, but they realize they're not quite ready to part ways—in fact, they're in love (still hungry, they split a picnic cupcake which serves as their wedding cake). Though sensitive readers might be disturbed by the worms' mutilation (good time for a lesson about worm regeneration) most will be drawn in by the growing affection between this pair. Ages 3–up. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Jonathan & Martha is just the kind of book I am always on the hunt for: gorgeous illustrations. Check. Simple narrative. Check. Interesting designs. Check. Thick pages that are easy for little fingers to navigate. Check." - Coos and Ahhs"
Readers. . .will be drawn in by the growing affection between this pair." - Publishers Weekly"
Cleverly told . .A few pages include die-cut elements that will intrigue viewers while furthering the story. Horacek's typically bold watercolor and crayon illustrations are cheerful and appealing. A great choice for preschool story-times on friendship, sharing, or Valentine's Day (or worms!). - Library Journal"
This book's beautifully embossed cover and thick paper stock set the tone for rich the illustrations and clever story. . .Horacek may not be a household name, but he's published over twenty-five children's books and will be a happy discovery for any book-loving child." - San Francisco Book Review
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Two worms meet in the middle of a pear they've both been nibbling on. Their first instinct is to fight, and they get so entangled that they must stay together, learning to share. When a hungry bird nips off their tails and separates them, they realize they belong together now, and they share a wedding cake (a big cupcake) and live happily ever after. Cleverly told, this completely unmushy love story is just right for young children. The protagonists and the touch of gore when they lose their tails will appeal to kids' love of gross-out, while the celebration of sharing addresses romance on their level. A few pages include die-cut elements that will intrigue viewers while furthering the story. Horácek's typically bold watercolor and crayon illustrations are cheerful and appealing. A great choice for preschool storytimes on friendship, sharing, or Valentine's Day (or worms!).—Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL