Quick as a Cricket

Written by:Audrey Wood 

Illustrated by:Don Wood

Before Reading

In this story, a little boy describes all of the ways that he is similar to different animals, and how all of these characteristics come together to make him who he is. Let your child explore the cover and illustrations in the story and point out different elements that s/he finds intriguing.

Make Observations.

What do you see?

What is the little boy doing?

If s/he is not yet verbal, describe what you see by saying, "Look! This little boy is hopping over a cricket in the grass. He looks like he's having a lot of fun!"

As You Read

On your first read-through, try reading the book all the way through without stopping. This will allow your child to hear the poem in its entirety before you begin discussing it. While reading, be very animated and try to express each description with enthusiasm.

For example, when reading "I'm as cold as a toad. I'm as hot as a fox", first pretend to shiver and chatter your teeth as you read and then pretend to fan yourself off as if you are burning up. 

Vocabulary Building

Use the images to help your child discover new words by pointing to the image and repeating the word. Encourage your child to repeat after you if s/he can. Try this with some of the animal names like:

  2. CLAM
  3. OX

You can also do this with words your child may already know like LION and BUNNY.

Make Connections

This story is great for demonstrating opposites like loud and quiet. Talk to your child about when s/he is feeling happy or sad. If s/he is not verbal, discuss when you can tell that s/he is happy or sad. If s/he is verbal, ask questions like," When do you feel happy? When do you feel sad? Can you be wild like a monkey? What about quiet as a clam?"

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Even if your child is not yet verbal, asking questions and answering them yourself demonstrates good reading habits and shows your child that a story doesn't have to be over once you've read the last sentence. Ask:

What are some animals that we saw in this story?

What other animals are big? What other animals are small?

Do you like being loud like a lion? Can you ROARRRR like a lion? 

Activity: The Opposites Game

Supplies: a bucket full of some of your child's toys and stuffed animals


Help your child discover how his/her own toys are opposites. Here are some opposites that you can explore with your child. 

  • soft/hard
  • big/small
  • loud/quiet
  • smooth/rough
  • in/out 
  • up/down

Choose a toy and find its opposite. For example, if s/he has a large stuffed elephant and a small stuffed bear, say, "Look! Here is a LARGE elephant and a SMALL bear". Ask your child to pick up or put down a toy, or put it in and take it out of the basket. Help your child interact with the stuffed animals and find ways to demonstrate opposites. 

See For Yourself!

Here is a great song for little ones by The Learning Station that teaches children all sorts of opposites. Not only is it a learning tool but it is also a fun song that children will love to listen and dance to. 

Parent's Corner

Source: Baby's First Year

Use everyday life to help teach your child about important lesson, in this case, opposites. S/he can learn a lot from your simply narrating your actions as you open and close a door, or pick your child up and put him/her down, etc. Be sure to effectively use the tone of your voice by dramatically noting differences between objects or actions.