Wally the Wordworm

A worm who lives on words, Wally finds himself starved for inspiration . . . until the day he slithers into a magical book: the dictionary. From this moment, he embarks upon a logomaniacal odyssey of epic proportions, munching on the likes of “eft” and “escalator,” “ptarmigan” and “sesquipedalian.” From Wally the Wordworm’s first publication in 1964, children and adults alike have been delighted by Wally’s wriggling through rhymes and words of increasing difficulty and complexity, his acrobatics whimsically illustrated by The New Yorker cartoonist Arnold Roth.

Genuinely fun to read aloud, and complete with an afterword by Clifton Fadiman’s daughter, Anne Fadiman (a bestselling author herself), Wally the Wordworm instills in young readers a love of words and language and an early appreciation for their vast possibilities.

Clifton Fadiman was a distinguished American intellectual, author, editor, and radio and television personality. Over the course of his career, he was the editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster, the book critic of The New Yorker, and the host of the popular radio program Information Please. He wrote three essay collections; co-authored The New Lifetime Reading Plan (1997); and edited many books, including The World Treasury of Children’s Literature (1984) and The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes (1985). He spent more than half a century on the editorial board of the Book-of-the-Month Club, serving longer than any other judge in its history. In 1993, Fadiman received the National Book Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Arnold Roth is an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator whose work has been featured in Playboy, Esquire, and The New Yorker. A contributor to Punch for thirty years, he has published numerous books. His illustrations are in the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum & Research Library at Ohio State University and the Cartoon Museum in London. He is also the illustrator of Speaking of Dogs, a Godine classic. (Image credit: Molly Stromosky)

Anne Fadiman is an essayist and journalist. Her most recent book is The Wine Lover’s Daughter, a memoir about her father, Clifton Fadiman.