Crawling through the dirt, worms are hard at work, helping plants to grow. Worms help the fruit and vegetables we eat by loosening the soil and feeding the plants. Read and find out about these wiggling wonders!
Here is the scoop on nature's underground gardeners! Without legs, a backbone, or teeth, worms create tunnels in dirt allowing roots and water to move through soil more easily. They perform this essential function through their normal life processes of eating and digesting the soil and plant parts that go through their gizzards and crops. That is how worms produce castings, rich fertilizer to help plants grow. Worms also cover the entrance to their holes with castings (called middens). Moving on bristles lining the underside of their bodies and breathing air through their moist skin, each worm is both male and female (but still needs a mate). After mating, worms grow a cocoon ring around their bodies. When the ring slips off, fertilized eggs are inside. After about three weeks, three to four wormlets hatch out of about 30 eggs. In six weeks, they will be adults. Worms stay underground during the freezing winter and come back out in spring. The last two pages of this book suggest activities for children to observe worms and the work they do. This basic book with simple illustrations is packed with information and is a great classroom or library text. Other titles in the 2nd stage of the "Let's-Read-And-Find-Out Science" series include Ant Cities, Chirping Crickets, and Spinning Spiders. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 5 to 9.