Today's vintage children's book, A Pocketful of Cricket, is illustrated by Evaline Ness (1911-1986), one of my favorite female illustrators. A testament to Ness's skill as an illustrator, she was awarded Caldecott Honors three years in a row for All in the Morning Early (1963), A Pocketful of Cricket (1964) and Tom Tit Tot: An English Folktale (1965). She received another Caldecott Medal for Sam, Bangs and Moonshine in 1967.
"This boy, Jay, lived with his father and his mother in an old farmhouse in a hollow. He was six years old."
"All around his house Jay could see hills. He could see hills when he stood whittling in the kitchen doorway. He could see hills when he swung on the gate in front of his house. When he climbed into the apple tree beside his house, he could see hills."
"Woods covered most of the hills. Corn grew on some of them. On a far green hill, farther than Jay could see, cows ate grass in a pasture."
"...The clear water rippling against his ankles cooled his feet. It washed them clean of dust. Jay wiggled his toes in the smooth brown gravel on the bottom of the creek. He picked up a small flat rock lying in the water. He turned it over. On it's underside was the print of a fern. Jay put the rock in his pocket."
When Jay waded out of the creek he stood for a minute on the bank. He watched a crayfish scuttling backward among the rocks. He watched minnows darting about in the water. At his feet he saw a gray goose feather. He picked it up, smoothed it with his fingers, and put it in his pocket."
A Pocketful of Cricket is not only well illustrated but well written - a great story to read to children. The author, Rebecca Caudill (1899-1985), penned more than 20 books for children including Tree of Freedom, a Newberry Honor winner. In her honor, the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award, is awarded yearly.
A Pocketful of Cricket
By Rebecca Caudill
Illustrated by Evaline Ness
Henry Holt and Company, LLC