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Stanley, Diane.
New York : HarperCollins, 2001
IL 5-8, RL 6.0
ISBN 0060296194

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

“NOOOO!  Make it go away!  Make it go away! Oh no! My head’s killing me!  Make it stop!”
What do you do when kids all across the country suddenly have a Jelly Worm obsession, experience exploding headaches, slither and hiss like snakes and see ghosts?  You find out what’s causing these things to happen, right?  Join Franny and Beamer on their journey to discover the truth and the power of the written word.
Prepared by:  Becky James for South Carolina Children's Book Award

Booktalk #2

                   Strange things are happening.  Franny notices it first at school.  Everyone is going crazy over Jelly Worms.  No kidding--over candy worms!  In the Cafeteria kids slide them on the tables and up their arms.  They put them on their heads, laughing all the time like they’re doing something fantastically funny.  It’s weird!  Even Franny’s sister Zoë insists she’s got to have Jelly Worms like it’s some sort of life or death situation.  And it’s all because of a book--one of the Chillers series by I.M. Fine--those scary stories that all the kids seem to love to read.  New books come out all the time. This one, “The Worm Turns,” is about Jelly Worms that come to life and destroy Cleveland.
                    Still, playing with jelly worms is pretty harmless.  Then, the next book comes out.  This one is called “Mind Wave” and as soon as everyone starts reading it, a terrible virus begins to run through the school.  The only symptom is a really terrible headache that won’t go away and the only kids who catch it are the kids who’ve read the book.  Franny begins to wonder if this I.M. Fine is somehow doing it on purpose.  Does he somehow have a way to control the readers of his books?  It certainly seems that way.  Especially when the newest book “Sinister Serpent Surprise” is published and suddenly kids are have seizures and slithering like snakes.  Kids end up in the hospital because they have read a book!  It’s happening all across the country, not just at Franny’s school.
                    Something terrible is happening, but no one will take Franny’s suspicions seriously.  Somehow Franny must find I.M. Fine and stop him before things get worse.  A new book will be published soon.  Time is running out….  (Alice Brice,, Graduate Student, School of LIS, University of SC)

SUBJECTS:     Magic -- Fiction.
                        Books and reading -- Fiction.
                        Mystery and detective stories.


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