February 10


Cover Reveal for Ear Worm! by Jo Knowles

I used to tell myself if I had a book idea in the middle of the night, it was no use getting up to write it down—if it was a good one, I’d remember. As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve started to wonder if that’s really true. So recently when I had a dream about an idea for a silly picture book, I got up and took notes. In the morning, I excitedly looked to see what I’d written, but there was no notebook next to the bed, as I remembered. No pen.


“Peter!” I said to my husband. “Do you remember where I wrote my notes last night?”


“What are you talking about?” he asked.


“Don’t you remember when I woke up and told you I had a silly idea for a picture book?”


“Uh, no. You must have dreamt it.”


“But it was so real!” I was clearly disappointed.


“If it was that great, you’ll remember,” he said.




Later, I took the dog for a walk, still wracking my brain to remember my idea. Then, as we stepped into the woods, I remembered! What if there was a little worm who got a song stuck in his head and the title was “Ear worm!” HILARIOUS, I remember thinking. In my dream, I wrote the idea in a notebook that does not actually exist.


But now that I was awake, was it still a fun idea? I had long ago given up the dream (the other kind of dream) of writing a picture book. I write novels! But as I walked along, I kept thinking about this little worm. What if he’s upset because he doesn’t know where the song came from? What if some forest friends try to help solve the mystery? What if each of them have songs stuck in their heads, too?


Soon, I was googling dance moves on YouTube, counting beats to match songs they could sing. The fox would dance the fox trot, of course. And the bunny would dance to some hip hop. But how would a little worm dance? He’d “Shimmy shimmy!” of course. I got up and wiggled my hips but kept my feet in place. My dog gave me a look, as I tried to imagine what came next. “No sashay!” I said, picturing Little Worm wriggling along.


After a career of writing serious novels for kids and teens, I never imagined I’d be writing a funny picture book and dancing the box step with my dog as I hummed a song to go with it. But as I worked to solve Little Worm’s mystery, a book slowly took shape. And now Galia Bernstein’s lively illustrations have brought the story to life! I’m so excited to share this cover today, and soon share my dance moves with young readers! This book is truly a dream come true, in more ways than one! Keep a notebook by your bed, friends—or at least keep one in your dreams. I can’t wait to shimmy-shimmy with you all soon.




About Ear Worm! (January 11, 2022)

A musical treat for the ear and eye, this antic tale of a worm on a mission doubles as a cozy bedtime book.

One summer day, as Little Worm heads out to play, he discovers he has a song stuck in his head. “What’s that you’re singing?” Owl asks, but Little Worm can’t say. He wriggles past, determined to learn who filled his head with “Shimmy shimmy, no-sashay.” Owl flaps along with a song of his own, and before long Chipmunk, Bunny, and Fox fall in line, each contributing an ear worm to the joyful cacophony. Amid all the singing and dancing, Little Worm forgets his musical mystery until later when—surprise!—Papa Worm tucks him in. Hip, vintage-inspired illustrations and whimsical typesetting meet movement, sound play, and comic, cumulative delights in a picture book that will charm media-savvy children and their parents alike.

Jo Knowles is the renowned author of several middle-grade and young adult novels, including See You at Harry’s, Still a Work in Progress, Where the Heart Is, and Jumping Off SwingsEar Worm! is her picture-book debut. She lives in Vermont.

Galia Bernstein is the acclaimed author-illustrator of I Am a Cat and Leyla. She lives in Brooklyn.