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Cricket in the Thicket -- Perfect Picture Book Friday, Throwback Thursday

This is a repost from my old blog. It has been updated. This month is Earth Month and National Poetry Month. So here's a book with poetry and insects?

I wrote this poem the other day while I was on a walk.

Songs of Nature

S. Tobias, 2021

Trees sway and creak as they meet in the wind.

Wind rushes through tangling in the branches.

People chatter as they walk down the path.

Do they hear the songs of nature?

Mourning dove whos it's mourning song.

Squirrel thut thuts as it cleans out a nut.

Tires whir and whoosh in a rush home for dinner.

Slap, slap. Slap, slap. A runner's beat.

Quiet and slow, I walk and listen to the songs of nature.

Title: Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs

Author: Carol Murray

Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet

Publisher: Christy Octavia Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2017

Ages: 4 - 9

Themes: Nature, insects, poetry

First Line: Cricket in the thicket, cricket.

A poem from the book:

Grasshopper Green

Grasshopper green is a munching machine,

he is built with precision and flair.

His hind legs are long and exceedingly strong,

like two springs as he zings through the air.

Four wings let him fly, let him zip through the sky,

he has jaws that are perfect for crunching.

With ears near his knees and five eyes, sure to please,

he spends most of his time simply munching.

Why I love this book:

💚Poems about insects.

💚 Each poem is fun and observational.

💚 I fell in love with the cover and then again with every illustration.

💚 I don't like all insects and there are a few in this book that I still don't like, but I enjoy knowing just a little more about each. Just because I don't like them, doesn't mean I should ignore them and not understand them. So kudos to Carol for writing about tics and mites.

💚 Each page includes a poem and a fact about the insect. At the back of the book, each insect is listed with additional facts shared.

💚 This book is a Kansas State Library Notable book for 2018.

💚 I had the opportunity to test a few poems out with some second graders a couple years ago during time in the garden. Each poem elicited discussion and sharing of previous knowledge. These second graders had monarch caterpillars in their classrooms last fall (9 months prior) to learn about the monarch caterpillar life cycle. They were sharing things they remember about the experience. Two of my favorites: Some said, "J". It took a moment to connect the dots, but they were remembering when the caterpillar had finished eating and was getting ready to shed its skin and reveal its chrysalis. They also remembered that the newly hatched caterpillar turns around and eats its egg and may even eat its instar each time it sheds its skin. Being able to introduce insects to children through real life experience, poetry and art, helps to develop a deep understanding and appreciation of these living creatures.


Wander around your yard, park, or neighborhood and see what insects and bugs you can find. Do some first hand research by asking questions and seeing if you can discover the answers without using a computer. You may want to carry a nature journal to make drawing and take notes about your discoveries. I notice, I wonder, and it reminds me of.

Here are a few more questions to keep you going:

What is the big doing?

How many wings does it have?

Does it make a sound?

Did you hear it before you saw it?

What does it look like?

Where are its ears?

How close can you get?

Did your research leave you with more questions than answers? Learn more about each of the insects by checking out books from your local library.

Use the observations from your insect discoveries to write poems.

Learn about the illustrator Melissa Sweet

Make your own Mixed Media Collage: A few links:

You can find this book at Amazon,, your local independent book store or your library.

(The links are affiliate links. I'm not in this for the money, just trying to get you the quickest way to get the book for your kids, your library, or your school classroom. At, I have begun several booklists which include my Perfect Picture Book Friday picks and my Graphic novel picks as well as a start to some middle grade novels and adult books. The lists continue to grow.)

Be sure to check out Susanna Hill's Blog where you can look for reviews by book, title, and by themes.

Want to try eating some crickets? If you know a middle grade reader who likes nature, mysteries, and friendship stories, I recommend Chirp by Kate Messner.


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