The illustration shows countless purple worms emerging from Todd's math notebook. Tim Jacobus' trademark signature is found just below the notebook.
THEY'RE CREEPY AND THEY'RE CRAWLY― THEY'RE TOTALLY DISGUSTING!
Obsessed with worms? That's putting it mildly. Todd is so fascinated with worms, he keeps a worm farm in his basement! Most of all, Todd loves torturing his sister and her best friend with worms. Dropping them into their hair. Down their backs. Until one day, after cutting a worm in half, Todd notices something strange. The rest of the worms seem to be staring at him! Suddenly worms start showing up in the worst places for Todd. In his bed. In his homework. Even in his spaghetti! What's a worm lover to do when his own worms are starting to gross him out?
One day, while digging up worms on their school's baseball diamond, Todd and Danny begin feeling giant tremors coming from underground. Believing this to be an earthquake, the boys rush back into school to warn their peers. Todd and Danny quickly learn that nobody who was inside felt the tremors. From inside the school, Todd sees Patrick MacKay, one of his classmates, digging up worms outside. Todd is informed by his sister that Patrick is creating a science fair project about worms. Todd is furious; he wants to have the only worm-themed project at the science fair! Todd storms outside, preparing to confront Patrick. However, the boys are all called back into school, so Todd doesn't get to learn what Patrick's project will be. As the boys are heading back inside, they start to feel underground tremors.
After school, Todd comes home and finds Regina working on her science fair project: a giant, papier-mâché robin. Todd asks Regina where Patrick lives, and she gives him an address. Todd, accompanied by Danny, travel to the specified address. When the boys get close to the house, they are scared by a large dog, so they run inside. The boys peer through a window and see a hideous, decayed face staring back at them. The boys run back to their respective homes. After entering his house, Todd overhears Regina on the phone; Regina brags about sending Todd to an abandoned house. The house had been used for a Halloween party, and the decayed face in the window was a leftover decoration. Later, when Regina asks Todd if he went to the specified address, he denies going there entirely. Todd secretly swears revenge.
At the science fair, Todd brings his worm farm, but he sees that Patrick has made a worm skyscraper. While the science fair judges assess Regina's project, they notice what looks like a string coming from the robin's mouth. They pull it, and worms pour out onto the judges. Todd recalls filling the bird with worms earlier that day as a way of getting even with Regina. Later, when it comes time to announce the winner, it is revealed that neither Todd nor Patrick won; Danny's balloon solar system won! After this announcement, Regina angrily shoves Todd into a table, which causes the worm skyscraper to come tumbling down. The structure lands on another set of projects, and the projects begin fuming. Everyone is evacuated.
A few days later, Todd is adding more worms to his collection.Todd cuts a worm in half in front of his sister and her friend, and both of the girls are disgusted by this. Regina points out something odd: the worms appear to be watching Todd. Regina says that the worms are plotting their revenge. The next morning,Todd is looking for his hat. When he finds the cap, he puts it on, but he quickly notices that worms are crawling around in his cap. Todd blames Regina, but she says she’s innocent. Todd sits down to eat his cereal, but he discovers more worms in his bowl.
Later at school, Todd accidentally bites into a worm that was hidden in his sandwich. Todd searches for his sister, and he finds her talking with Patrick and Beth. Todd assumes that the trio is responsible for all of the strangely placed worms that he's been finding. Patrick denies the accusation, explaining that he has stopped collecting worms and is into creating comic-strips. Todd steals the strip that Patrick is working on; the strip depicts an anthropomorphic worm named Todd.
Todd continues to find worms in strange places. One night, Todd sneaks into the basement so he can inspect his tank of worms in the hopes of solving the mystery of how they have been escaping, and then talks to them; he apologizes for what he did, but then says that he’ll have to get rid of them if they keep escaping.
Todd is then caught by his father, who tells him he has had it with his worms. Todd’s mother then appears a few moments later, asking if everything is all right. Her husband replies that everything is OK and that it’s just more worm trouble; Mrs. Barstow tells them to get back to bed before leaving the basement. Mr. Barstow informs Todd that he can’t have him scaring everyone in the house and staring into a tank of worms instead of getting his sleep, and tells him to dump all the worms into the garden tomorrow afternoon. When Todd tries to argue, his father doesn’t listen, saying he’s made up his mind and there is no discussion; he also adds that he’s sure Todd can find something better to collect than worms.
The next day at school, Todd overhears Regina talking with Beth. Regina admits that she has been the one placing worms in his stuff. Once again, Todd vows revenge.
Todd and Danny go to the baseball field after school, and they collect more worms. The ground quakes beneath the boys before splitting open. From the ground comes a giant worm. As the tree-sized worm tackles Todd, he speculates that it must be the mother worm, and she is angry that Todd has hurt her offspring. The worm begins pulling Todd underground, and Danny can't stop it. Danny sees Regina and Beth passing by, carrying their giant, papier-mâché robin home from school. When the girls approach, the worm thinks the bird is real and is scared off, leaving Todd unharmed.
With that, Todd takes his father’s advice and tosses all of his worms into the garden. A few weeks later, Todd has taken up a new hobby: pinning butterflies. One night, while Todd is working, he gazes up and sees a giant butterfly wielding a silver pin.
Reprints and rereleases
2003 - 2007 reprint series
- In the UK, this is the twentieth book in the original series.
- In the French edition, this is the fortieth book in the original series.
- Todd Barstow is called "Bruno Jones".
- Regina Barstow is called "Jennifer Jones".
- In Portugal, this is the twenty-fifth book in the original Goosebumps series.
- In the Portuguese adaptation of the story there are some notable differences:
- Todd Barstow is called 'Tomé Gasparinho'
- Danny Fletcher is called 'Daniel Romano'
Go Eat Worms! was adapted into an episode of the Goosebumps TV series. It is the sixth episode of season two, and the twenty-fifth episode overall. The title of the episode omits the exclamation mark.
- The back cover says Todd finds worms in his spaghetti. Strangely, no such scene occurs in the book.
- This book never reveals which of the Barstow siblings is oldest, despite the book preview mentioning Regina as younger.
- Regina put a worm in Todd's sandwich as a joke, and Todd had eaten half of it before seeing the worm in the sandwich. This is similar to Steve Boswell and Chuck Green's trick on Carly Beth Caldwell in The Haunted Mask.
- R.L. Stine has stated that this book is one of his least favorite Goosebumps books, along with The Barking Ghost. He specifically wasn't happy with the story.
- This book references the Oakland Raiders, William Tecumseh Sherman, Christopher Robin, Star Trek, and Nintendo.
- The 2015 ebook removes the Nintendo reference, and "the machine beat him easily" is changed to "the CPU beat him easily".
- This is one of the few Goosebumps books written in third-person, which was eventually phased out as the series continued.
References in other Goosebumps media
- The title of this book is mentioned in the film Goosebumps.
- The title of this book is mentioned as an achievement in Goosebumps: The Game where the player must get 10 different game over deaths. The title is also used in a joke when exploring the Cavity City segment of the game.