May 28, 2018

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Cricket Song by Anne Hunter | SLJ Review

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redstarHunter, Anne. Cricket Song. illus. by Anne Hunter. 32p. HMH. Mar. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544582590.Cricket Song by Anne Hunter

PreS-Gr 1 –In a yellow house, in a blue bedroom decorated with planets and stars, a boy sleeps. He cuddles a sea otter toy, and on the wall behind a windblown curtain is the painting of a South Pacific island, volcanic, the ocean parted by a whale’s tail. The tranquil spread is underlined with a long, narrow panel depicting his house, the stretch of the sea, and then another house on an island just like the one in his painting. The sun hasn’t set yet in this other place, where dolphins leap and yellow-green parakeets fly overhead. In subsequent spreads, sunset turns to night outside the boy’s window. Inquisitive crickets are joined by puffing frogs, timid rabbits, a watchful fox, and a bay full of dozing otters. Meanwhile, the setting sun creeps along the lower panel as the main illustrations shift their focus to the deepening blue sky and sea of the islands, fishermen bringing in their boats, and a girl asleep under a fish-patterned blanket, a toy parakeet tucked in her arms. The language is as lulling as an evening breeze, but it’s the illustrations that make this book truly extraordinary. Those who have experienced Hunter’s earlier titles, including Possum’s Harvest Moon (HMH, 1996), will be familiar with her gift for depicting the natural world. Here her watercolor and ink renderings of the landscape and the sea, the animals, and the purple-gold sunset clouds are an exquisite journey into the most restful part of the day. VERDICT An evocative work in which readers can look at the pictures and hear the wind, the whales, and the crickets singing.–Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2016 issue.

Luann Toth About Luann Toth

Luann Toth ( is Managing Editor of SLJ Reviews. A public librarian by training, she has been reviewing books for a quarter of a century and continues to be fascinated by the constantly evolving, ever-expanding world of publishing.