The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson


Cricket Karlsson enjoys the science lesson whereby the class dissects cows’ eyes. The retina looks like ‘a mini universe‘. Then again, Cricket’s someone who pictures in the world about her. That’s why she makes chewing gum sculptures. She is inspired by her Aunt Frannie who once created an installation with Cricket called ‘a thousand years of black’. it involved ‘painting all the pots and the magnolia tree black‘. Cricket’s mother didn’t see the art.

Now Cricket’s keeping a diary, for Aunt Frannie is unwell and has checked herself into a psychiatric ward. Cricket’s visiting secretly, though she thinks her father knows this. She shares her own Wolf Hour- that time in the night where you cannot sleep- with Aunt Frannie. It seems Aunt Frannie can’t lose the Wolf Hour.

Cricket’s Wolf Hour is full of worries about Noa who was once her blood best friend. Now she and Noa have fallen out and Noa’s part of the horse girls, who call Cricket ‘Crapula’ and ostracise her. Once Cricket would have shared the letters she found upstairs from Matt in Madras to her mother. Now she has to reason it all out on her own…

The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson is an honest middle grade novel, so raw that we feel Cricket’s pain and long for her reunion with Noa, and the recovery of Aunt Frannie. Then again, we hope that the horse girls might be tethered firmly so they stop terrorising our heroine.


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The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson

Kristina Sigunsdotter and Ester Eriksson, translated by Julia Marshall

(Gecko Press)

Cricket’s heart is breaking. It seems there’s been a falling out Now. it means that Noa’s hanging about with the horse girls, while Cricket’s fending off Mitten.
Then again, Cricket’s Aunt Frannie is really unwell. It seems that the ‘Wolf Hour’ has arrived and won’t leave her. Cricket’s visiting her secretly, though she thinks Dad knows. Cricket’s taking her gifts and trying to find ways to make her feel happier. She wonders if taking ‘cheese-on-cheese-on-cheese‘ will help, but Aunt Frannie says she doesn’t feel like eating anything.
The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson are deep and many, though at their heart is a feeling of being lost. It leads to Cricket’s hiding place in the school bathroom, and then her constant list writing and retreats to the library. It seems that art, Aunt Frannie, Fun Friday and Noa make her happy. Yet these are all crumbling away from her. What can she do?
Gecko Press offers disquieting, truthful, unique books, with dedicated research, which are translated meticulously. The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson has the honesty of A Postcard to Ollis or Hattie. Then again, there is a rare humanity, so that we can feel Cricket’s ache and confusion and desperation to regroup with Noa and for everything to be right for Aunt Frannie. This chapter book is recommended particularly for reading aloud closely, talking about, laughing and crying over, recognising and loving.


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