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Literature / Go Eat Worms!

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The Goosebumps book with lots of worms.

Todd Barstow is obsessed with worms. He studies them, he keeps them as pets, he uses them to prank people. But one day, after cutting a worm in half to demonstrate its durability and ability to survive and regenerate as two new worms, he notices the other worms all looking at them. From then on, worms start turning up in strange places, such as his food, his bed and his homework. And he starts to wonder if they're out for revenge after what he did...

It was adapted into the sixth episode of the second season of the 1995 TV series, with a novelization based on the episode being released as book 9 of the Goosebumps Presents series.

The book provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Patrick, a boy in Regina's class, is shown to have grown an intense interest in worms. He is shown getting worms out of the baseball field and made an impressive worm project for the Science Expo. But then Todd abruptly finds out that Patrick isn't into worms anymore, and tossed his collection into his dad's garden.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Danny, while disgusted with some of the worm habits that were occurring around Todd, eventually became amused at it. He thought it was hilarious that some of them ended up in Todd's notebook during math class, and jokingly said that he's saving them for lunch.
    • Before that, Todd is assuming that Regina put worms in his baseball cap, which she repeatedly denies. This causes Todd to sarcastically suggest that their father did it before leaving for work. This ludicrous idea causes him, Regina, and their mother to crack up laughing.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Todd comes across a handful of worms that were in his baseball cap, which he just put on his head. He angrily accuses Regina of doing that, to which she denies it and says he probably did it. When Todd scornfully asks why he would do that, she replies that it would get her into trouble. This dumbfounds Todd.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Happens twice at the end of the book, first with a giant worm, and then a giant butterfly. The TV adaptation replaces the latter with a giant fish.
  • Beware of Vicious Dog: At one point while visiting a house that Regina sent him and Danny to, Todd sees a big scary dog charging at them. They manage to get into the house right before the dog attacks them.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: After Todd decides to switch to collecting butterflies, Todd is confronted by a huge butterfly in his basement holding a large pin. The book ends with Todd just wondering what will the butterfly do next...
  • Catapult Nightmare: Unusually, Todd has one while in the bathtub one night instead of in bed. He's imagining that worms suddenly start coming out of the faucet and start clinging to his body, making him wake up in fear.
  • Chekhov's Gun: "Christopher Robin", the giant papier-mâché robin that Todd's sister made for the science fair. When she's bringing it home, the giant worm mistakes it for a real robin and flees.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: Subverted. While burning inside with jealousy over Patrick's worm project, which is a worm skyscraper, Todd suddenly has an urge to "accidentally" bump the table, which would send the project toppling down and breaking, leaving only Todd's worm project left standing. Yet, he doesn't do it. Although, he DOES end up doing it by accident when Regina pushes him in a fit of fury.
  • Cool, but Stupid: A variant at one point. Todd and Danny go to the theater to see a comedy about aliens that are doing a carwash, in which they washed themselves instead of the cars, and ended with blowing the planet up. While Danny liked it, Todd though it was funny, but stupid.
  • Covers Always Lie: Not even the back cover blurb's are exempt. The blurb for this book mentions Todd finding worms in his spaghetti. This never actually happens (they turn up in his sandwich instead). Someone asked Stine about this and he simply said it was an error.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Todd happens to do this twice, hearing Regina gloating to Beth about how she managed to prank Todd, which made him angry and swear revenge. The first time is when he overheard her talking on the phone to Beth how she tricked Todd into going to a creepy abandoned house. The second time, it was about how she fooled Todd into thinking that worms were out to get him by putting worms in all his belongings.
  • Failed a Spot Check: As a giant worm is attacking Todd and Danny, Regina and Beth come along carrying the Christopher Robin project and scare the creature off. However, because the two girls were carrying the enormous project in front of them that was obstructing their view, they didn't see any of it. And when Todd and Danny try to tell them right afterwards of what happened right there, they just shrug the two boys off into trying to fool them.
  • False Reassurance: After the disaster in the Science Expo, in which Patrick's skyscraper project fell on another entry — Liquids and Gasses — and caused an explosion, Todd "reassured" his parents later that day that the whole school would forget about it in a few years or so.
  • Foreshadowing: When talking about the worms looking at him to Danny during lunch, he points out to Todd that worms do not have eyes, so they could not see him. Danny turns out to be correct more than he knows. The worms were not only unable to see Todd, but this is credible evidence that the worms seeking vengeance against Todd was just the start of a series of pranks that she was seating up for Todd in revenge.
    • Also, when Todd is apologizing to his worms, these worms are not looking at him. These indicate that they are not actually out to get Todd. Except for a giant one.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: When Regina and Beth's project is inspected by the Science Expo judges, Worms fall out of Christopher Robin's beak and onto the judges. Todd, who planted the worms in there earlier that morning, tries to walk out of sight. But Regina spots him, and furiously and loudly blames it on him while pointing at him.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The book ends with Todd just about to be terribly killed by major impalement. Of course, considering that such a graphic death cannot be depicted in a children's book, this isn't shown in text.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: This happens the morning that Todd is forced to get rid of his worm farm. The narration even says that Todd felt as gloomy as the storm clouds above.
  • Hate Sink: This book goes in depth in showing just how unpleasant Todd is. He is very mischievous with his pranks, has an attitude most of the time, is very hypocritical on pranks, goes so far as wanting to trespass and spy on Patrick, and is shown to be a Sociopath who tortures worms. And he doesn't fully redeem himself by the end of the story, instead going after butterflies.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: After eating a worm that was in his sandwich at lunch, Todd tracks Regina down and confronts her about, thinking she put it in there, which was actually true. He asks her about it, to which she replies if he ate it. He lies, "Uh... no. No way!" Regina isn't fooled at all, and leaves in disgust.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: As part of recent occurrences of worms showing up in his stuff, Todd eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at lunch only to find that it tastes odd. He pulls the sandwich apart and is horrified and nauseated to find a half-eaten worm inside.
  • I Lied: At lunch, Todd makes a bet with Beth on if a worm is in her soup. While she is distracted, he sneaks a worm in the bowl, much to her horror. When Regina tells Todd that he said that he dropped his worms outside, he replied with this trope word for word.
    • Also, he asked Regina to tell him where Patrick lives because if she does, he will not drop a worm (which he was carrying at the time) down the back of her shirt. Regina does so, but as soon as her back is turned, Todd does it anyway.
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: Alluded to briefly. One of Todd's classmates, Debbie Brewster, bragged on how she was going to win the science fair by making electricity. Someone responded by telling her to go fly a kite.
  • Irony: After his worm adventure, Todd takes his worms out of his house and dumps them in the backyard, not wanting to see a single worm again. Considering he was ordered by his father to do so anyway the night prior, he does it immediately instead of begrudgingly.
  • Karmic Death: Todd, who nearly gets killed by a giant worm for his cruelty to one of his worms, and later starts collecting (and killing) butterflies, only for a giant one to show up to kill him.
  • Mama Bear: The giant worm that attacks Todd for his experiments with her babies.
  • Mistaken for Quake: Todd thinks there are earthquakes near the school, when it is actually a giant worm under the ground.
  • Moth Menace: In the last chapter, Todd, having gotten over his worm obsession, has moved on to torturing butterflies instead. At the end, a giant butterfly with an equally giant metal pin shows up to even the score.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In a science fair that includes a worm skyscraper as well as experiments with acid, liquids, and gasses, guess who wins? Danny with his balloon solar system.
  • Never My Fault: When running out to see what Patrick is doing at the baseball field digging worms, Todd bumps into his teacher, spilling her lunch on her. When talking to Danny about it right afterwards, Todd said that it's her fault for being in his way.
    • Also, Regina claims to Todd that he ruined the Science Expo, even though it was partially her fault for pushing him into Patrick's sculpture. Then again, considering the hand Todd had in all of this and the fact he gloated to her into doing it, she probably has a right to be angry.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The giant worm that appears starts dragging Todd down into the ground. Danny rushes to Todd's aid and tries to get him out of the worm's grasp, only to be sucked in himself. And if Regina and Beth hadn't arrived with Christopher Robin to save them, Danny probably would have been a goner as well.
  • Oh, Crap!: Todd has plenty of these throughout the book.
    • When he is scoping out a creepy looking house to see if Patrick is there, Todd looks behind him and sees a big, vicious dog with eyes that glowed red which was about to attack him and Danny. They barely manage to escape.
    • And later, while at the baseball field digging for more worms for revenge, the ground starts to shake again, and this time an enormous worm emerges from the ground. Todd is freaked out and tries to escape, but starts to be pulled underground.
    • And finally, in the last chapter, Todd hears a loud flapping sound coming from the other side of the basement. He glances up from his desk, and screams in horror when he sees an enormous butterfly coming towards him, the size of a bedsheet. And it is carrying an enormous metal hat pin the size of a spear.
    Todd: What are you going to do?!
  • Pluto Is Expendable: Danny is having trouble with his ballon solar system, and part of the problem is someone accidentally popped the balloon that was Pluto. Despite that, he still won the computer grand prize.
  • Punny Name: The papier-mache robin that Regina and Beth are building for the science fair is called... you guessed it... Christopher Robin.
  • Rapid-Fire "But!": When Todd and Danny are digging for worms at the baseball field in the beginning of the book, they feel the ground beneath them begin to shake, causing the boys to run to the lunchroom and yell out there's an earthquake. Regina and Beth, whom are in the room at the time, tell them that they didn't feel anything so there's no earthquake. A shaken Todd responds with this trope.
  • Red Herring: The book initially points to Patrick MacKay, a rich boy who is in Regina's class, to be Todd's rival. He creates another (and better) worm project for the Science Expo and seems to be the one behind the pranks that keep happening to Todd. But he actually lost interest and is doing comics, and the one who is really pranking Todd is Regina. One could argue that the whole science fair is a Red Herring Twist.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Todd fears that the worms in his worm farm are seeking vengeance towards him for cutting one of them in half, and this fear is exacerbated by finding worms crawling in his belongings throughout the book. He finds out later that they ended up in those belongings because Regina put them there as part of HER form of vengeance. Not only that, but he also finds out that there IS a worm that is seeking vengeance against him; an enormous one.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Patrick was this. He didn't brag about his family's wealth, but the fact that he wears designer jeans and he was dropped off by a fancy Lincoln car made Todd and the others figure it out.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Beth does this to Todd after the whole Science Expo fiasco.
    Todd: You know, what happened at the Science Expo was no tragedy. Some people thought it was kind of funny. (snickers)
    Beth: Some people are kind of sick.
  • Space Whale Aesop: The "moral" of the book seems to basically be "don't abuse insects or their giant counterparts will get you", which could count as a Broken Aesop since the worm is scared off before it can kill the protagonist. At the end there is another example, as Todd takes to pinning butterflies instead, only to get attacked by a giant butterfly with a pin, the implication being he is going to be Impaled with Extreme Prejudice. It makes far more sense if you read the aesop as "Don't be mean to animals or there will be monstrous consequences".
  • Start X to Stop X: This is Regina's plan throughout a large chunk of the story in order to stop Todd's pranks involving worms occurring to her. Because she's so angry with Todd and saw him slice a worm in half, she puts worms in all his stuff to make it seem as if they're out to get him. She is thrilled when this leads to their father forcing Todd to give up his worm farm, and even more when he actually gets over his obsession altogether.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: At school, Danny approaches Todd and asks him how last night went. As Todd was caught by his father trying to watch the worms in his basement last night and ordered by him to throw his collection out today, a depressed Todd is about to tell Danny. But that's when they're interrupted by Regina and Beth, who are having a conversation out of sight from the two listening boys, discussing how Regina was the one who was putting worms in Todd's belongings and how she's excited that he has to give up his worm collection. After they leave, Danny asks Todd if he can believe it, to which Todd pretends that he knew this whole time that Regina was up to this.
  • Tempting Fate: When a visiting Danny sees Todd has started collecting butterflies, he voices his surprise that he would do this after the whole worms episode. Todd replies that butterflies are so gentle and pretty, which means he's safe by harming them instead. A few days later, he's attacked by a giant butterfly and seemingly moments away from a grisly fate.
  • Title Drop: Regina constantly tells Todd to... you guessed it.
  • You're Just Jealous: When Todd is angry at Patrick for "stealing" his idea for a worm project, even though his was way more fantastic and original, Regina and Beth accuse him of being jealous of him for developing a worm obsession. He unconvincingly denies this.


Video Example(s):


Worm Cave

Todd stumbles upon a cave while out in the dark to collect worms. This cave turns out to be covered with worms that slither all over him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CreepyCave

Media sources: