The Cricket Winter - Felice Holman


Simms Silvanus is nine years old and enormously wise. He knows more about volcanoes than his father knows about business, and more about electromagnetic fields than anyone in his class. His ideas to improve things are amazing! Yet nobody -- not even his parents -- will listen to him. A cricket is living a solitary life beneath the floorboards in Simms' room. His bride-to-be has left him after a fight, and in his loneliness he turns for companionship to the other creatures who live underground. Soon he finds himself involved in their struggle for survival.  Everything changes one winter day when Simms and Cricket discover they can communicate with each other. Through Morse code, the two tell of their troubles, listen to each other's ideas and together learn that it's sometimes difficult to do the right thing.





Simms Silvanus is a 9 year old genius who often feels overlooked by his parents. Meanwhile, in the crawlspace of Simms' home lives a cricket and his new bride. The newlyweds get in a heated debate one night when the topic of how to raise their future children comes up. The cricket's wife runs back to her parents' house (all the way up in the attic LOL). Hurting and lonely, the cricket gets the idea to explore the crawlspace further. There he discovers other critters -- mice, spiders, ants -- who also habitate part of the Silvanus home. Around this time, Cricket also finds that he and Simms have a way to communicate, using the system of Morse code. 



"Hello," he tapped, because he could do that very fast by now.

"Hello," chirped Cricket.

"How are things?" tapped Simms.

"What things?" asked the cricket.

Simms considered this. Then he tapped, "The things that have to do with your life. How are they?" 

"That will take a lot of thought to answer precisely and fully, but I will think about it," chirped the cricket. "How are your things?"

Not only do the two begin to converse in Morse regarding their unique emotional stressors, but Cricket realizes he can also enlist Simms' help with a problem plaguing his new crawlspace friends --- the rat, Hostis, who also lives under the house who keeps raiding the winter food supplies of the others!




"But what can they do?" asked Simms. "What can a mole, and some ants, and a spider and some mice do?"


"Just the best they can," chirped Cricket. "That's all they can do."





The story itself is cute -- the animals have some funny convos -- but in the end just kind of okay. This is one you check out mainly for the adorable illustrations done by Robyn Thomas. On that note though, if you are reading this with really little ones about, the illustrations could possibly be minorly disturbing if your wee one is especially sensitive to images / sketches of rodents or creepy-crawlies.



But, just once in awhile, a boy may do a fine thing and get no recognition at all, and it's all right. It's enough. Indeed, he feels, for the moment,

quite perfect.