Madison: Cricket of the Valley By Diane Dettmann

We’ve all had them in our home at one time or another.  Their pretty little chirp very quickly can become maddening.  That is why I have never understood the Chinese custom of keeping one in a cage in your home. Crickets are not only noisy but can cause damage to fabric paper and many other things.  This is from a human point of view.  I never thought to look at it from the cricket’s point of view.  Ms. Dettmann helped me do exactly that. Stan and Edith have retired and moved to the country: perfect home, perfect view, peaceful, EXCEPT for the crickets in the house.  Edith cannot stand them, especially when they jump on her in the night. They give her the “hebbie-jebbies to put it mildly, and she is on all out quest to exterminate them.  Much to her dismay nothing works! At the same time I read about Edith’s woes, I also learn about Madison, resident camel cricket, according to his life and experiences in their home.  Her grandchildren come for a visit and find a book on crickets.  The boys are fascinated about them and even build a cricket cabin in the workshop for Madison and his friends.  That’s when Edith’s’ attitude begins to change, and I have to say mine did too. I never knew how fascinating these little guys were. I learned so much about how their bodies operate, survival, reproduction, and thanks to the author’s vivid imagination, how the world looks to them. I believe this book is a forerunner of a new, fun way to teach children (and adults) scientific information about nature and the many creatures we share this planet with. As an adult I loved the beautiful countryside photos at the beginning of each chapter. And I must say I won’t be “squishing” (sorry to be so graphic) crickets anymore! This is a delightful entertaining book.