Superworm is super-long. Superworm is super-strong. Watch him wiggle! See him squirm! Hip, hip, hooray for SUPERWORM!
"Have a forest adventure with Superworm in 2015" – says the Forestry Commission's website. To aid this, the Commission has published a book by Julia Donaldson. It tells the story of how a superhero worm and his mini-beast friends defeat the "villainous Wizard Lizard". Clearly, it is playing into the Superhero trope so (currently) apparently so beloved of young children.
The purpose seems positive. The Forestry Commission says:
From 13 March until the end of October, families can enjoy Superworm activity trails at around 20 selected sites across the country. Each activity trail will include up to 10 stops and take around one hour to complete (distances will vary between 800 and 1,500 metres).
At each stop, visitors will discover a panel containing activities and questions inspiring them to use the Superworm story and its characters to think about the woods and forests around them. The trail has been designed by Forestry Commission England’s learning team to have activities suitable for children aged 3-6, as well as elements that will appeal to 6-8 year olds. The activities will encourage children to use their ‘superhero’ senses and powers of discovery and creativity; from discovering the touch and smell of the forest to becoming nature detectives.
Additional activities created by the Youth Sport Trust will also excite young adventurers to become super-fit like Superworm. Special packs with additional things to do, including a sticker sheet, activity leaflet, string to make your own Superworm and a limited edition Superworm mini-book, will also be available to purchase onsite.
Although that sounds promising, I was disappointed with the booklet – and clearly mistaken in my expectations of it. I had thought that it might be informative about worms and forests and their inter-connectivity. Not at all. All you learn is that: "Superworm is super-long. Superworm is super-strong. Watch him wiggle! See him squirm! Hip, hip, hooray for SUPERWORM!"
So much for environmental education, I thought. I hope the activity trails make up for this, but you have to wonder.