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About the Author

Janell Cannon's picture books have won many awards and are beloved around the world. She is the author and illustrator of Verdi, Crickwing, Pinduli, and the long-time bestselling classic Stellaluna. Born and raised in Minnesota, Ms. Cannon now lives in Southern California.


Gr 1-4-In her latest picture-book creation, Cannon introduces Crickwing, a cockroach with a wounded wing. This basically sweet-natured creature becomes a bit of a bully when he discovers how easy it is to play tricks on a colony of worker ants. When faced with outside danger, however, he uses his creative talents to help his industrious friends. The most striking aspect of the book is the acrylic and Prismacolor-pencil artwork. As with Stellaluna (1993) and Verdi (1999, both Harcourt), Cannon's drawings are exacting-a true marriage of fact and fiction. The cockroaches and ants are precise enough for an entomology textbook, while the lush colors and beautifully realized facial expressions are so reader friendly that even very young children will be enchanted. Unfortunately, the text falls short in comparison. The story is too wordy and somewhat stilted, making it difficult to use as a read-aloud. For older students, the scientific explanations of various species of cockroaches throughout the world may be helpful, but will diminish the storybook quality of the book.-Barbara Buckley, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Tired of being bullied, an artistic cockroach with a crooked wing and a penchant for culinary sculpture ("I just like to play with my food") begins picking on creatures even smaller than himselfÄleafcutter antsÄand is taken prisoner by the colony. Crickwing is sentenced to be served up as a peace offering to the army ants, but a few brave rebels have a change of heart and set him free. The grateful (and penitent) cockroach repays their kindness and saves the colony by scaring off the army ants with his best sculpture everÄa giant green anteater made of leaves. The tale ends with Crickwing joining the leafcutters as their chef; the celebration that follows includes flower confetti and dancing (the "six-step," naturally). Cannon (Verdi) works her picture book magic once again, producing an amusing tale lightly rooted in natural history (notes on cockroaches and ants follow the story). Reeling in her audience with saucy characters and an engaging plotline, she hooks them with her vibrant visuals. Whether depicting Crickwing creating an edible mouse from a root, leaves and berries, an ocelot peering at him as he hides under a stone or a herd of leafcutter ants falling into one his traps, Cannon's illustrations skillfully blur the line between fact and fancy, and add another feather to her well-decorated cap. Ages 6-9. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Text and illustrations are beautifully matched as readers follow Crickwing's positive transformation."--The Boston Globe

"Cannon's illustrations skillfully blur the line between fact and fancy, and add a feather to her well-decorated cap."--Publishers Weekly "Crickwing is not only a hero, but an elegant, graceful beauty as well."--Kirkus Reviews

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