Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Cricket Winter

The Cricket Winter

Felice Holman
Illustrator:  Robyn Thomas 
For ages 8 to 12
Eerdmans, 2006   ISBN: 978-0802852892

Simms is a nine-year-old with a lot of ideas. He is wise beyond his years and yet no one will listen to what he has to say; as a result Simms is rather lonely. Cricket is a forlorn little insect living under the floor of Simms’ house. Cricket and his love have had a disagreement and she has gone home to her parents. Now snow has arrived and there is no way for Cricket to leave his home to try to patch things up with his lady.

Quite by accident Simms and Cricket find a way to communicate through the floor boards. Using Morse Code the boy and the insect discuss their problems and share their woes. Simms explains how no one will listen to what he has to say, and Cricket tells Simms all about the problems that the house creatures are having with a boorish and uncouth rat who lives among them. The rat is making life under the house almost impossible, and the creatures who live there – ants, mice, a mole, a spider and Cricket - don’t know what to do about the situation.

As this very special story unfolds, readers will find themselves thinking about what it is like to have to make hard choices. Both Cricket and Simms have to do this and yet, somehow, they manage. Cricket accepts that he has do whatever he can to help his animal friends, even if that means that he has to do something disagreeable. In turn, Simms has to accept that sometimes one has to do a good deed simply because it is the right thing to do and not because one hopes one will get praise for having done something good. Best of all, perhaps, is the way in which these two unlikely characters interact and help one another.

Written in a beautifully lyrical style, and perfectly illustrated in soft and atmospheric pictures, this is a book that readers of all ages will find captivating and thought-provoking.