Cover image for Crickwing
Cannon, Janell, 1957-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
A lonely cockroach named Crickwing has a creative idea that saves the day for the leaf-cutter ants when their fierce forest enemies attack them.
Reading Level:
AD 590 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.2 0.5 44252.

Reading Counts RC K-2 4.1 2 Quiz: 22710 Guided reading level: P.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
Clarence Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Clearfield Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Collins Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Kenmore Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lancaster Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lancaster Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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Crickwing never set out to be a bully. All he wants is to create his art in peace. But it's not easy being different--a cockroach with a cricked wing and a flair for sculpture is a ready target for the bigger creatures in the forest. Crickwing just wants to even the score, and leafcutter ants are so easy to pick on. . . .Big mistake. Nobody angers the leafcutter queen and gets away with it.
In this epic adventure beneath the foliage, Crickwing and the leafcutter ants go head-to-head. Then a swarm of ferocious army ants threatens, and suddenly everyone is in danger. Crickwing has to do something, but what? He's an artist, not a fighter. What the leafcutters need is a hero. Or, maybe, a cockroach with a really clever idea. . . .

Author Notes

Picture book author and illustrator Janell Cannon was born November 3, 1957, in St. Paul, Minnesota. The left-handed artist claims she drew so much in high school that her hand was perpetually black from smearing the ink of her favorite Bic pens.

Cannon worked at the Carlsbad Library in southern California, where she discovered that there were few books about bats available for children, so she decided to make her own. The result, Stellaluna (1994), became a best seller, allowing Cannon to leave her job at the library and write Trupp: A Fuzzhead Tale (1995), and other books.

Janell Cannon lives in California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 6^-9. Cannon, who made a bat (Stellaluna) and a snake (Verdi) appealing, sympathetic characters, works her magic again in this jungle adventure starring a conflicted cockroach and a crew of plucky leaf-cutter ants. Crickwing (his name comes from a near-death experience he had with a toad, which left one of his wings twisted) is a starving artist. He loves to create sculptures with his food, but he's too slow to fend off the sneak attacks of rain forest predators who swipe his work. Feeling isolated, despised, and hungry, he takes out his anger on the busy, successful leaf-cutter ants, who capture Crickwing, intending to offer him to the voracious army ants. After his captors take pity on him at the last moment, Crickwing joins the leaf-cutters in an ingenious ruse to rout the army ants. Cannon's artwork, in acrylics and pencil, is as bright as a photo flash, magnifying the actions of the tiny denizens of the world under the rain forest canopy. It also captures quick movements: action shown in full-page color paintings is continued and forwarded in a black-and-white illustration on the facing page. It's a gripping story that also works as an inspiring lesson in compassion. Cannon concludes with "Cockroach Notes" and "Ant Notes." --Connie Fletcher

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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