Article of Title
Determined Chirpers
Based on The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle
Book cover

cricket is born on a warm day. He is welcomed by the chirping of a big cricket. The quiet cricket wants to greet new friends. Determined, the tiny cricket rubs his wings together. Nothing happens. The cricket continues to journey on through his days despite his inability to answer back. His wings are silent, but he does not give up. The quiet cricket keeps trying. Then one day, the cricket meets another quiet cricket. This time, when he rubs his wings together, the most beautiful chirping sound can be heard.

Young children are drawn to The Very Quiet Cricket (The World of Eric Carle, 1990). It is a story of friendship and eventually the relationship between the two crickets. It is also a lesson in perseverance, and listeners are invited to be a part of the story with the anticipation of the repetitive words, “the little cricket wanted to answer so he rubbed his wings together, but nothing happened. Not a sound.” These two sentences are repeated after every meeting. A few friends into the story, children begin to repeat the phrase, helping them feel a part of the telling. The plot, structure, and brilliant illustrations have made The Very Quiet Cricket a favorite of all eight of our children.

“His wings are silent, but he does not give up.”
Cricket begins with the letter C. Practice writing upper and lowercase C.

The beginning sound of the word “cricket” is a blend of two sounds, the C and the R. This is called a consonant blend. Take turns thinking of other words that begin with the CR blend—cricket, craft, crab, crate, crunch, crack, crazy, cream, cross, and crocodile. Consider writing the words on a white board as a visual tool.

Crickets are active at night and rest during the day. They are nocturnal. It is also interesting that crickets are more active in warmer weather. They will not chirp on nights when the temperature is below fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Make a list of other animals that are active at night; for example, owls, foxes, raccoons, bats, opossums, and moths. Go on a night walk. Look and listen for animals.

Crickets are insects. Entomologists study insects. Insects have three body parts—head, abdomen, and thorax—and six jointed legs. They also have two long, segmented antennae and two pairs of wings. Draw an insect, making sure the creation has three body parts, six legs, and two long antennae.

Male crickets rub their wings together to make a chirping sound. This attracts female crickets. Rub your forearms together to show how male crickets make their chirping sound. Both male and female crickets have “ears,” called tympani, located in their front legs below the knee.

Crickets chirp. They also jump. Get down on all fours and jump like a cricket.

Verbs are action words. Each new friend greets the cricket with an action: locust whizzes, praying mantis whispers, worm crunches, spittlebug bubbles, cicada screeches, bumble bee hums, dragonfly whirs, and mosquito buzzes. Act out these actions. Talk about other actions made by creepy crawlies and other insects—grasshoppers jump, assassin bugs stalk, beetles run, spiders spin, moths fly, and ants climb. Act out these actions.

Grasshopper on a plant
Crickets live in logs and under rocks in meadows, forests, and grassy areas. Female crickets lay eggs in the soil. Crickets are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals, usually dead insects. Birds, reptiles, rodents, and other insects like to eat crickets. The most common cricket in the United States is the field cricket. Go on a bug hunt! This can be as simple as looking in the backyard or going to a park. When you spot a cricket, notice where you found the cricket and what it is doing. Watch how they move. Be sure to take along a magnifying glass and bug habitat to get a closer look at anything you find.

If there is not a park or another area where crickets could be found, go to a local pet shop and buy some crickets to observe. Notice the color of the crickets. Point out the cricket’s major body parts. When you are finished watching and learning, let the crickets go in the backyard. Bug viewers can be helpful and are often available at a dollar store.

Crickets are about an inch long. Locate a ruler, and find the one-inch marking. Use the ruler to find objects that are an inch long.

Place some plastic insects in a sandbox or gravel activity box. Sift the sand. Sort and count the insects. Make sets and practice combining two sets to make one big group—the addition concept.

Crickets are fascinating creatures. If your child wants to learn more about crickets, consider reading Chirping Crickets by Melvin Berger (HarperCollins, 1998) or Crickets by Emily K. Green (Bellwether Media, 2006).
You’ll find several activity sheets to help you implement the ideas from our Great Books articles in our brand new Seasonal Activity Guide!