cover image Cricket in the Thicket: Poems About Bugs

Cricket in the Thicket: Poems About Bugs

Carol Murray, illus. by Melissa Sweet. Holt/Ottaviano, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9818-1

Murray assembles nearly 30 poems about familiar insects, sometimes educational (“I carry little pods of air/ beneath each shiny wing,” she writes about a water bug), sometimes providing an insect’s-eye view of life (“I am not loved, not loved at all,” sighs a cockroach, “I’m not like any other”). The balance of the poems are third-person descriptive: “Whizzing and whirling/ in fabulous flight./ Whooshing like rockets/ to tell us ‘good night.’ ” Perhaps to amplify the comedy, a few poems assume that insects bother humans—understandable regarding the mosquito, more surprising in the case of the bumblebee: “Rumble, rumble, Bumblebee./ Don’t you know you’re bugging me?” To even the score, Murray also lobbies for unloved insects: “Let’s Hear It for Dung Beetle!” Sweet’s (Some Writer!) illustrations—with their graceful lines, luminous colors, and sly wit—delight throughout, offering delicious moments as a fly contemplates a tableful of Wayne Thibaud–like cakes and a walking stick stands among delicate twigs. Additional information about each insect is supplied on each page and in closing notes. Ages 6–10. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (May)