a pocketful of cricket

My collection of children's books has had some lovely additions to it over the past few months. Instead of doing my usual style of show and tell group post, I thought I'd show some of them to you one at a time.

My Christmas stocking included this lovely picture book by Rebecca Caudill published in 1964:

The story is about a country boy called Jay who loves to idle away his summer holidays wandering about the neighbouring farms, fields and creeks finding little treasures like hickory nuts, river stones, and goose feathers, which  he stows away for safe-keeping in his overall pockets.

One day Jay finds a cricket. He decides to keep it until the school term begins, so he places the cricket inside a tea strainer and puts it on his bedside cabinet. The next day he makes a bigger cage for the cricket and feeds it fresh fruit and vegetables as well as water in a bottle cap.

When the school term begins, Jay decides, against his mother's wishes, to take the cricket to school with him. It chirrups away inside his pocket causing all the kids to  laugh at him. The teacher asks Jay to put the cricket outside, but when he tells her that it is his friend and he doesn't want to lose it, she allows Jay to take the cricket to the front of the class and tell his classmates all about it.

The show and tell session is a great success and Jay imagines all the other treasures he might bring to class in the future, like the Indian arrowhead he found one day, or the hickory nut that smells like the frost, or a handful of beans with white stripes and red speckles...

All in all, a sweet and charming little tale with gorgeous illustrations by Evaline Ness in beautiful colour combinations of mustard, red, black and grey.


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