Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Old Cricket

Old Cricket by Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated by Ponder Goembel

Group discussion questions:
How many of you have chores? What are they? Do you ever feel like not doing them? Why? Have you ever tried to get out of doing your job?


  1. Explain what you think this means; “You don’t get to be an OLD cricket by being a dumb bug.”
  2. Who are the characters in the story? Who do you think is the most important, why?


  1. Describe in your own words what happens in the story.
  2. Give examples of where Old Cricket makes a decision in the story. Does it happen more than once?


  1. Collect at least ten excuses you hear people use during the day.
  2. Predict what Old Cricket will say when his wife asks him to take out the trash the next morning.


  1. How would the story be different if written through the eyes of the wife? The crow?
  2. Read The Little Red Hen and compare these two stories where people avoid work.


1.          Imagine what each person would say to Old Cricket if they knew he was “faking it.”
2.          Do you think Old Cricket’s wife had any idea that he didn’t really have a creak in his knee? What makes you think so or not?


  1. Which illustration is your favorite? Why?
  2. Do you think Old Cricket will ever fake out his friends again? Why or why not?

Multiple Intelligence Projects for

Old Cricket by Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated by Ponder Goembel

Verbal/ Linguistic:

Write a story about one of the other characters from Old Cricket.


Write a series of haiku poems (5-7-5 syllables) about the scenes in the book.

Logical/ Mathematical

Fill out the chart on character emotions below.

Visual/ Spatial

Ponder Goembel’s illustrations are remarkably detailed. Choose a common item and really study it (even under a magnifier). Make a list of details you noticed you never had before. Then, create a piece of art (in any media you prefer) that incorporates what you discovered.


Pretend you are Old Cricket’s personal trainer. What exercises might improve his poor overall health. Write a prescription including aerobic and weight-training exercises that you think will help him. Illustrations are optional. Then, create an exercise plan for yourself and stick with it!

Musical Rhythmic

Divide the class into sections and assign each small group a sound: creak- creak-creak
crick-crick-crick, crack-crack-crack and hic-hic-hic

Then, let the students either make the sounds with their voices, or provide some hand held instruments and have them experiment to create the sound with their tools (or other objects). Then, the teacher can act as composer and point to each section creating a musical ensemble of pain! Brave teachers can allow students to try, or create new whining sections to vary the composition.


Make up a song about Old Cricket using a traditional tune as your base:

Old McDonald
Mary Had a Little Lamb

Here’s a finger play about a cricket for younger audiences:

The Little Cricket
(Point to one finger at a time.)
The first little cricket played a violin.
The second little cricket joined right in.
The third little cricket made a crackly song.
The fourth little cricket helped him along.
The fifth little cricket cried, "Crick-crick-cree.
The orchestra is over and it's time for tea?


Choose an animal from Old Cricket to learn more about. Then, in small groups create a poster or pamphlet about what you learned. Be sure to divide the work equally among group members. At the end of the project, team members will “grade” the members for how hard they worked and cooperated.


Everybody would like to bail sometimes on things they have to do. Instead, as a class, write a list of things you can tell yourself when you need to get things done. Make a poster or scroll and keep it up for a few weeks as a positive reminder.

Examples to get you started:

Do what you don’t want to do most, FIRST. Then, it is out of the way.
Treat yourself to something when you get something difficult done.

Teacher’s guide provided by
Visit and find more children’s literature guides!

Old Cricket by Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated by Ponder Goembel

Choose the emotion that best suits the character:


Fill in the following chart about each character in the book:

                                                            Emotion:                                  How you know:
Old Cricket

Mrs. Old Cricket

Cousin Katydid

Neighbor Ant


Doc Hopper