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Dig Deeper: Cricket Activities

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by Edith Hope Fine
Illustrated by Winslow Pels

Enjoy these Cricket at the Manger activity ideas.

Create Your Own Collage
Now that you've studied Winslow Pels' illustrations, you can create your own collage. Use bits of ribbon, food wrappers with words on them, cellophane, flat pebbles, sand, button, stickers, twigs, leaves, flattened flowers, and other found objects. Glue these down on construction paper to create a collage.

Remember, you are not Winslow Pels. You're not like anyone else in your class or your family. You are unique. Your collage won't be like anyone else's-it will be yours!

Write Your Own Poem
After you've read Cricket at the Manger, write your own animal poem. Think of a less common animal (walrus? hippo? orangutan? warthog? chameleon?), then tell what sound it would make. You can invent the sound and the spelling of your critter's noises!

Choose the Perfect Font
The way words look on a page tells readers a lot. My cricket story is set in a wonderful font called Papyrus-it's elegant and old-fashioned, perfect for the text. If you have access to a computer, see if you have the choice of Papyrus. Highlight your poem and change the font-find one you like that fits the tone of your words. If your poem is playful, try Comic Sans. If you poem is elegant, try Apple Chancery. Fast-moving? How about Brush Script? Experiment with other fonts and with the spacing of your poem or story. Leave some empty spaces. "White space" makes your poem look open and intriguing.

Create Your Own Alphabet
See all the big fancy letters on many of the Cricket pages? Winslow Pels designed each one. Isn't she remarkable? You can design letters, too. Start with your initials. Move on to a whole alphabet. One way to work is to make outline letters, then fill them in with your own designs. Use your custom-designed letters on special work such as birthday cards for friends and family.

Draw Animals
Do you have a pet? Make some quick sketches (called gesture drawings) to get rolling. Then move toward drawings that have greater detail. Notice how it looks as though could you feel the feathery-soft chicks Winslow Pels drew for Cricket at the Manger. They start with a big circle and a small circle-the body and head.

Thumbprint Chickens
Press your thumb onto an ink pad. Press your thumb on paper to make an oval. Add ears, eyes, a beak, wings and legs. Make other characters.

Read Aloud
Poems are meant to be heard. Listen while someone else reads Cricket, then divide it into parts and do a class reading. Groups can read some parts together. Choose someone good at sound effects to be the cricket who changes from grouchy to awe-filled.

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