A pair of friendly insects experiences a series of worrisome events, but each has radically different reactions.
Although Grasshopper thinks it is “a fine day,” her neighbor Cricket has a bad feeling about it. Indeed, as he makes his way over for tea, a crow captures the two friends. Cricket frets, declaring vindication, although Grasshopper persistently assures him that “everything will turn out all right.” She gets them out of the bird’s clutches, but they tumble from one metaphoric pickle into another, relying on luck for the rest of the adventure until they serendipitously return home. Once, Grasshopper shows a sensitive acknowledgement of Cricket’s fears, when she wraps her arms around Cricket while he cries. The rest of the time, she dismisses his concerns and concentrates on the fun she’s having. Cricket’s worries prove monumentally prescient, and Grasshopper’s reassurances come across as uncaring placations. The backmatter essay on “Children and Worry” by two psychotherapists, intended for adult readers, explores why children (of an undefined age) may experience worry and offers a bulleted list of suggestions with sample dialogue. However, the life events they suggest that may provoke worry (conflict, bullying, divorce, bereavement), while grave, don’t have the same stakes as the life-threatening events the story characters face. The soft edges of the pastel-hued illustrations recall fuzzy felt. Their bright cheeriness tempers the scary events of the story and matches the pedantic tone. Large type and a fair amount of negative space make for appealing layouts.
“Why worry?” Because the potentially lethal events depicted warrant it. (Picture book. 4-7)