Quick as a Cricket (by Audrey and Don Wood)

picturebookpicksThere are lots of feelings books out there. There are some good ones that talk about individual feelings (Trace Moroney’s When I’m Feeling… series comes to mind, or Molly Bang’s When Sophie Gets Angry…, or Mercer Mayer’s I Was Just So Mad). There are some good books about all different feelings (Todd Parr’s The Feelings Book).

But Quick as a Cricket is the only one I can think of that talks about having contradictory feelings at the same time—which is how kids (and, let’s face it, the rest of us) roll. I also like that the “feelings” in there aren’t just emotions: there’s happy and mean, but also strong and tame and wild and large, which are important feelings we don’t give voice to very often. How identity-affirming for kids to read this and get the Walt Whitman “I contain multitudes” vibe.

I’m as sad as a basset, I’m as happy as a lark,
I’m as nice as a bunny, I’m as mean as a shark.
I’m as cold as a toad, I’m as hot as a fox,
I’m as weak as a kitten, I’m as strong as an ox.

Other things to like about this book: The easy rhythm and rhyme of it. The near-gender-neutrality of the child protagonist. The evocative, expressive, exciting illustrations (I still remember staring at “strong as an ox” and “wild as a chimp” when I was five). And it’s a great participatory book—make the faces and the noises that go with each picture!

Really, it’s just a complete package of a book. I love reading it with all ages of children—everyone (even you) will find parts to identify with.

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