The Worry Web Site

The Worry Web Site

3.6 3
by Jacqueline Wilson

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A wonderful collection of linked short stories from this enormously popular and bestselling author.

Is anything bothering you? Problems in school or at home? Don’t know what to do or where to turn? With Mr. Speed at the head of the class, help is only as far as the nearest computer! All his students have to do is log on to the Worry Web Site and wait for


A wonderful collection of linked short stories from this enormously popular and bestselling author.

Is anything bothering you? Problems in school or at home? Don’t know what to do or where to turn? With Mr. Speed at the head of the class, help is only as far as the nearest computer! All his students have to do is log on to the Worry Web Site and wait for the good advice they need. . . . Like Holly, who wants a wicked stepmom but learns to accept a nice new friend. Or Greg, who thinks his crush is hopeless until a school trip comes along. Or Samantha, who feels as if everything is wrong but finds a place where something feels right. No problem is too large or too small for the Worry Web Site—or for one special teacher.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British author Wilson (The Suitcase Kid; Girls in Tears) offers an uneven but generally appealing collection of highly personal accounts, narrated in turns by various members of Mr. Speed's class. On the "Worry Web Site" created by the teacher, the students anonymously reveal their problems and receive feedback. The inaugural tale, "Holly's Worry," is the longest and among the more memorable. "I think I'm going to get a stepmother," the girl types onto the Web site. "I wish she was wicked." She explains, to readers but not to classmates, that, ever since her depressed mother abandoned the family years before, it has been her job to look after her father and her younger sister. Now her father has fallen in love with her sister's teacher, and Holly wishes she could justify her own intense anger and resentment. In other stories, William complains that he is "useless at everything"; Samantha misses her father, now living with another woman; and wheelchair-bound Natasha, who can talk only with the aid of a speaking machine, confides that she longs to take part in the class concert. In each case, the teacher intervenes to help solve the dilemma-with results that vary in credibility. The warmth of the premise and the empathy of the author make up for the gaps in believability; readers will want to imagine themselves under Mr. Speed's tutelage. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In this breezy, hardcover chapter book, no problem is too large or too small for "The Worry Web Site," created an elementary school teacher on the classroom computer for his gang of problem-plagued pre-adolescents. Mr. Speed tells his students that anytime they have a worry, they can type it into the computer without signing their names. Everyone is invited to type in suggestions or comments to help out—all anonymously, of course. Each chapter is devoted to a particular student's worry and how it all worked out in the end, usually with only a small assist from the caring Mr. Speed. The "worry" stories range from silly to serious, from dealing with stepmothers and missing dads to puppy love on the school bus and 'enormous mouthful' contests in the cafeteria. Even Mr. Speed shares a worry which, happily, has a happy ending! Jacqueline Wilson, who has written many entertaining and acclaimed books for young people in England, has done it again with this well-crafted collection of inter-related stories for middle grade readers. American kids will readily relate to the various predicaments and preoccupations of the characters, and pick up on all the warm humor along with the many 'Briticisms' used in the dialogue and text. 2003, Delacorte Press, and 16.99. Ages 9 to 12.
—Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Holly fears that she will soon have a stepmother. Greg admires a girl and hopes to be her boyfriend. Claire has nightmares. William thinks he is useless at everything. Samantha misses her dad, who has left their family to marry another woman. Lisa is frightened by her angry father. Natasha wants to be in the school concert but is uneasy because she is in a wheelchair. These students are all in the same class. Mr. Speed is their fast-moving, funny, and caring teacher who offers The Worry Web Site to his students in an effort to provide the opportunity for them to type in their concerns anonymously. Members of the class address one another's problems by adding their comments. Mr. Speed oversees and quietly intervenes when necessary. Each chapter relates the story of one student. Character development is slight but sufficient and is enhanced by the interaction of the students with one another throughout the book. Their problems are realistic in that some of them do not have clear solutions. Wilson shows that she understands the lives, fears, and worries of young people, and the book has enough suspense, enhanced by frequent humor, for reluctant readers.-Rebecca Sheridan, Easttown Library & Information Center, Berwyn, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Wilson spins six worrisome personal or family concerns anonymously posted to a classroom discussion board into light-toned (by and large) first-person short stories. The tales are interlinked: Holly is furious at the prospect of a stepmother who's actually lovable; shy Greg is mad for Holly; William is fussed that he's at the bottom of the class in everything; Natasha has a yen to be in the class talent show despite severe physical disabilities. Twelve-year-old Lauren Roberts, winner of an online contest run by Wilson, provides a seventh heartrending contribution. In it, a hyperactive, reasonably wise teacher named Mr. Speed, plus other well-meaning adults and peers, provide no easy answers in a drama about domestic violence, but do help all these children toward at least momentary triumphs-often in an ingenious fashion. A lively gallery of mostly likable characters, presented through an open-ended premise that, to judge from the 15,000 contest entries Wilson received, shows plenty of potential for turning young readers into young writers. (Fiction. 10-12)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Holly's Worry

Type in your worry:


I think I'm going to get a stepmother.

There are lots of stepmothers in my favorite book of fairy tales. Don't go, "Yuck, boring!" Fairy tales are seriously cool, much scarier than any R-rated video you've ever secretly watched at a sleepover. Snow White's stepmother is the scariest of all.

She doesn't look scary. She looks beautiful in the picture in my book--though her long queen's robes are spoilt because Hannah tried to color them with purple wax crayon. I was FURIOUS. I felt like snapping the book shut and smacking Hannah round the head with it, even though she's only little and didn't mean to spoil the picture.

I minded so because it's such a special book. It used to be our mum's when she was a little girl. She gave it to me. Snow White's mum died when she was born so she got this stepmother who looked so lovely that her magic mirror said she was fairest of them all. But she was evil and mean and dead jealous when the mirror said Snow White was the fairest now, so the stepmother tried to have her chopped into bits and then she poisoned her with an apple and she fell down dead and was kept in a glass coffin until a handsome prince came by (yawn!) and brought her back to life. The wicked stepmother was so maddened that she boiled with rage and her shoes stayed so red hot she couldn't take them off and she had to dance until she died.

She must have had awful blisters. I've got one where my old sneakers are rubbing. Dad doesn't always get it together when we need new shoes. It's not his fault he's so busy. Yes it is. I'm not making excuses for my dad anymore. I can't stick him now. And I especially can't stick her.

I'm going to add to my worry.

I wish she was wicked.

That sounds daft. Mr. Speed will think I'm seriously weird. Mind you, Mr. Speed is a little

bit weird himself. He's speedy, like his name. He whizzes up and down the school corridors, he dodges round the desks in the classroom, and he skips across the playground. He really did skip once when Claire brought a skipping rope to school. He could do all sorts of fancy footwork too--but then he tripped and fell over and said a very rude word. He's not a bit like the other teachers.

This Worry Web Site is all his idea. It's instead of Circle Time. You know, when you all sit in a circle, fidgeting, and you're meant to discuss your problems. Sometimes it's dead boring because someone like Samantha bangs on about missing her dad. Everyone always feels sorry for Samantha because she's so little and pretty with lovely long fair hair. Even Mr. Speed has a special smiley way of looking at her that makes me sick.

Sometimes Circle Time is terribly embarrassing because someone stupid like poor William confides the sort of problem that should stay a deadly secret. He told the whole class that he wets the bed and his dad yells at him and makes him cry and his mum says she can't keep up with washing his sopping sheets. Some of the kids giggled and poor William looked as if he was going to cry again. Mr. Speed got very fierce with the gigglers and praised William for being so honest and sensible over a tiny physical problem that happens to heaps of people--but even Mr. Speed couldn't stop half the class calling poor William Wetty Willie in the playground.

So maybe that's why he came up with the Worry Web Site idea.

"I've designed the supercool, wacky, wicked Web site on the classroom computer, OK? Any time you have a problem, access the Worry Web Site when it's your turn on the computer and type it in. You don't need to put your name. Then we can all contribute our comments and suggestions--just as long as they are kind and constructive, get it?"

We got it.

Everyone started typing in their worries. Someone had a good long moan about their sneaky sister and their brainy brother.

Someone was worried about being bottom of the class.

Someone wrote about having scary nightmares.

Someone was sad because their pet rat had just died.

One of the boys wrote that he liked one of the girls a lot. That made everyone giggle--and Greg went very pink. Hmm! I wonder who he fancies?

Someone else went on and on. Oh boo hoo, it's so sad, I miss my dad, etc, etc. We all know who that was. At least Samantha can still see her dad when she goes to stay with him and his new girlfriend.

Well, I see my mum. Sometimes. I have to take my little sister, Hannah, so she can get to know our mum. She left when Hannah was just a baby. Mum had Depression which made her very sad so she cried a lot and then ran off. When she ran off I guess Dad and Hannah and I got Depression too because we all felt very sad and cried a lot as well. It felt very scary when Dad cried so I told him that it was OK. I'd look after him and Hannah now.

I do look after both of them. I've been almost like Hannah's mum. When she was a baby I fed her and washed her and dressed her and changed her (yucky, but you have to do it). I cuddled her lots and played peekaboo and do you know something? The very first word she said was Holly. That's my name.

She's said millions and millions and millions of words since. She is a total chatterbox. She's in the preschool class at my school and Miss Morgan obviously adores her--though she always gets into trouble for talking. She even talks during Story Time. She doesn't mean to be naughty. She just likes to join in.

I read to her at bedtime from my special book of fairy tales. She likes "Red Riding Hood" best, especially the wolf bits. "Oh, Grandma, what big teeth you've got," I say in a teeny tiny Red Riding Hood voice, and then Hannah shrieks, "All the better to Eat You All Up!" and bounces up out of bed at me, gnashing her teeth. Once she bit me on the nose by accident. She can be a very boisterous baby sister.

My favorite fairy tale is "Snow White." When I read the start of the story out loud and say that Snow White's hair is as black as coal and her skin as white as snow and her lips as red as berries, Hannah always shouts, "Holly berries!" and stabs at the picture with her finger.

"That's you, Holly," she says.

I wish! I don't look the slightest bit like Snow White. I have got red lips (especially if I've been eating red M&M's) but I often have a red nose too (I get lots of colds).

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Wilson is the author of award-winning books, including The Suitcase Kid, The Lottie Project, Bad Girls, The Story of Tracy Beaker, Vicky Angel, and the Girls quartet and she has won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, the Smarties Prize, and the Children’s Book Award for Double Act, which was also highly commended for the Carnegie Medal.

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Worry Web Site 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i think this book was very bad. It had no fun things in it, except when it says not read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very entertaining. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good book. This book is full of laughter and energy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was all about Mr. Speed's class, and how they told their worries to the Worry Website, which was created in place of circle-time. Holly, Greg, Samantha, Claire,and Lisa are some of the characters that share their worries. Mr. Speed tries to fix all of their worries as well; for Greg, he plays a mixed-up Cupid, for Holly he gives her some good old advice, Lisa and Samantha play their worries by ear, and Claire and Mr. Speed come up with a way to defeat the monster in her dreams. An interesting fact about the book is that Lisa's story was written by a 12 year old contest winner, and was just as good as any other story in the book. I think that this is a fabulous book for any person who likes a good read, and Jacqueline Wilson books are perfect for everybody!!! I loved this book!