Naturalist Sara's Book Pick: 'Earl the Earthworm Digs for His Life'

Updated: May 21, 2019

“Earl the Earthworm Digs for His Life,” written by Tim Magner and illustrated by Lindsay Knapp, is a perfect book to crack open during spring. The story follows Earl from tiny cocoon to full-blown worm as he tries to find his role in the world.

Photo by Sara Russell

He looks to the butterflies, to the ants, to the trees and to the plants, but they all leave him behind. It isn’t until he begins to dig that he celebrates his contributions to the world.


My favorite part of the book is when Earl discovers the world below our feet. The beautiful illustrations bring to life the soil beneath us, which is the teeming with roots, snails, beetles and more.


Alongside the story of Earl, the author includes fun factoids on every page. Did you know that Egyptian queen Cleopatra declared earthworms must be protected as sacred animals?

Or that earthworms can eat up to 16,000 pounds of soil a year?


I recommend multiple reads of this book. The first time through, just enjoy Earl’s adventure. Go back for another read to marvel at the lovely textured drawings, then take in all the amazing information about earthworms and their environment. There’s even a wonderful glossary, or “Words We Know,” and a basic introduction to composting at the back.