Tracing its roots to 1970 – the year the last Beatles album and Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water were released, Earth Day has become the largest secular holiday in the world. So let’s celebrate and spread some planet-love to the youngest among us. I think this Perfect Picture Book pick can do just that:
Title: Cricket Song
Written & Illustrated By: Anne Hunter
Publisher/date: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
Suitable for Ages: 4-7
Themes/Topics: Night sounds, nocturnal animals, time zones
Opening: “As the sun sails west, bringing the night, the evening breeze rises to meet it. The breeze carries the song of crickets into your room.”
Brief Synopsis: In this quiet bedtime book, the sounds of nature herald sleep and gently move west, bringing darkness to another shore, to another child ready for sleep.
Links to Resources:
- Learn more about nocturnal animals.
- Match the sounds to the night creatures that sing us to sleep.
- Construct paper plate clocks that show what time it is where family or friends live.
- With older children, watch a NASA Kids’ Science News video in which kids explain time zones to their peers.
Why I Like this Book: Cricket Song is a quiet lullaby and homage to the lyrical sounds of nature that lull us to sleep at night: crickets, frogs, birds and even sea creatures. As nighttime progresses and the breeze carries these songs further west, a second child, on another shore, also is lulled to sleep to the sound of cricket-song. While seemingly telling no story, Cricket Song tells a greater one of the world’s interconnectedness through nature. The author/illustrator does so not just with her gorgeous illustrations but by reminding readers to listen for nighttime sounds, like the song of crickets, which sadly fail to reach so many of us in our urban/suburban homes.
With its second set of illustrations along the bottom of each page, Cricket Song also is an excellent, visual rendering of time zones – a concept difficult for most children, as well as many adults, to understand.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!