Caroline Arnold's Books

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Wiggle and Waggle book cover Wiggle and Waggle
Common Core Curriulum Connections
  • Language Arts: early literacy, problem solving
  • Science: organisms, soils
  • Social Studies: cooperation
  • Prizes and Awards
  • Earlychildhood News Directors Choice Award 2007
  • Association of Booksellers for Children Best Books for Children 2007
  • Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best 2007
  • Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year 2007
  • California Collection(California Readers) 2009
  • Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award, 2008
  • New Jersey, Garden State Children's Book Awards--Easy Readers, 2010
  • Children's Projects

    For a printable (PDF) reading guide for Wiggle and Waggle, activity pages, party games and recipes, reading list and the music for Wiggle and Waggle's gardening song, click HERE .

  • To sing along with Wiggle and Waggle and watch a short video on YouTube, click HERE.
  • To learn about composting with Vermi the Worm, check on the internet. A guide includes information on how to start a vermicomposting system (worm box) at school, a variety of activities, and information on how to use the finished product in a school garden.
  • To find out how one mother made a Wiggle and Waggle puppet play with her pre-schooler, click here.
  • Book notes

    For a short piece on Caroline's gardening experiences and the origin of the idea for Wiggle and Waggle go to Behind the Story.


    1) You said Wiggle and Waggle was one of the first stories you wrote. When you wrote the original, did you envision it as a picture book? If so, how did the story evolve to become an early reader? I always envisioned Wiggle and Waggle as a collection of short stories, although the original five stories were longer and had different themes. Over the years, I gradually changed the stories. At one point, I took one episode, in which the worms go exploring outside the garden, and turned it into a rebus. At another point, I tried the story as a picture book, turning the final scene into a birthday celebration. It was not until I started to work on the stories in an early reader format and to focus on the themes of friendship and the value of hard work that the stories finally came together as a book.

    2) What do you hope readers will take with them after reading Wiggle and Waggle? I hope that children will think that the stories of Wiggle and Waggle are fun, but that they will also learn about the value of friendship and a job well done. Perhaps, after reading these stories, children will also gain a new appreciation of worms and be motivated to learn more about them.

    3) What do you think of Mary Peterson's illustrations? Are they the worms you had in mind when you wrote the book? I love Mary Peterson's illustrations of Wiggle and Waggle. It isn't easy to illustrate worms, as I know from trying it myself, and she has given each of them a distinct personality and made them characters we can identify with. They are exactly what I had in mind when I wrote the book, but better.

    Another Interview:

    For an interview in the online writing magazine, Writing It Real, about the process of writing Wiggle and Waggle and other easy-read books, click here.
    Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2007

    Arnold, known for her science nonfiction, tucks plenty of natural history into this quintet of easy reading tales. Singing a work song – “We wiggle and waggle, squiggle and squirm. / Digging in dirt is the life of a worm” – two earthworms aerate a vegetable garden, work together to shift a rock out of the way, picnic beneath a bucket on dirt rolls and bug juice, play in a rain puddle and, finally, at summer’s end, tunnel down for a long rest. Placing her worms in a well-tilled setting among healthy-looking veggies, Peterson endows them with smiles and goggle eyes, plus subtle differences in body color, and for Waggle, a pair of eyeglasses. An altogether agreeable visit to the garden, unsurprisingly capped by a page of additional worm facts.

    Booklist, July 2007

    Here comes another buddy duo. that narrative staple in the world of easy readers. This time it's a pair of worms, Wiggle and Waggle. Four [sic] short stories chronicle their adventures. In the amusing "A Digging Song," the worms find digging hard work, so theymake up a song: "We wiggle and waggle, squiggle and squirm; Digging in dirt is the life of the worm....In the last two chaptersthe worm buddies go for a picnic (dirt rolls!) and tunnel out their names. Longer than some easy readers, this will give new readers a bit of a challenge. The artwork, done in earth tones, or course, features two goofy, google-eyed worms. Good quality paper and an attractive design add to the book's pick-me-up quotient." Ilene Cooper

    Publishers Weekly, July 2007

    The eponymous heroes of this early reader are two genial, googly-eyed earthworms who are also best friends. In five short chapters, Wiggle and Waggle (the latter, distinguished by a pair of glasses) learn that singing makes a job go faster; a difficult task--moving a big rock out of a tunnel--is made easier when individuals work together; and a rainy day needn't be a spoiler if you have an upbeat outlook. ... As for the two leads themselves, they're spunky, comically gangly and just vulnerable enough to be adorable. For youngsters smitten by this duo, a list of facts about worms and how they contribute to a healthy garden concludes this cheery collection.