I created these characters a few years ago when my sons played in a garden park down the road from our apartment in St. Louis. One of their favorite things to do in the park was catch grasshoppers, and there were always plenty. When we would do our bedtime routine, my oldest son asked me to tell him a story about a grasshopper. We had been reading (and still do) a lot of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel, so I naturally added Cricket to the story. Recently my son asked me to tell him this story again and so I decided to revisit it and share it with you all. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!
Grasshopper and Cricket are best friends. They live in the same house together. Grasshopper loves the mornings, but Cricket loves nights. So most of their time is spent together during the day. One of their favorite things to do is to go to the park. Most days the park is scarcely populated with people, but once every year many people go to the park to celebrate the city. Grasshopper and Cricket never went on that day because Cricket, being small, thought he might get stepped on or picked up and caged.
This year Grasshopper wanted to go. During the morning while Cricket was sleeping, Grasshopper planned their day at the park. As he thought about the things they would need to bring for a picnic, he made some lemongrass tea. Lemongrass was their favorite tea. He made some mudgrass sandwiches and packed some bluegrass chips. For dessert he made a sweetgrass cake.
The morning was almost over and Cricket came out of his bedroom sleepy eyed and yawning. He sat down to drink tea and saw Grasshopper with a big smile on his face.
“Why are you smiling, Grasshopper?” asked Cricket.
“I have a wonderful idea of how we can spend the day,” Grasshopper replied grinning.
“What’s your idea?”
“It’s a superbly wonderful idea,” Grasshopper repeated, dreaming of what it would be like.
“What did you plan for today?” Cricket asked again.
“Oh what a tremendous idea!” Grasshopper announced as he rubbed his hands together.
“Well what is it?” Cricket asked again with frustration.
“We will go to the park!”
“Today?” Cricket asked anxiously.
“But it’s the big celebration day,” Cricket replied with a shaky voice.
“Yes it is, and we should see what it is like. I have packed a picnic, and we will go as soon as you finish your tea.”
“But, Grasshopper, I don’t think I want to go. It is too scary just thinking about it.”
“We will go and you will enjoy it. I promise.”
“You promise nothing bad will happen.” Cricket was still unsure, but he trusted Grasshopper.
“I promise it will be a great day.” With that Cricket folded reluctantly but finished his tea, and they were off.
When they got to the park, they stayed close to the flowers. They didn’t want to venture too far out. There were tons of people. There were feet and little hands everywhere.
“This doesn’t look good, Grasshopper,” Cricket said nervously.
“We will stay in flowers and look for a place to have our picnic. Everything will be fine, Cricket.” Grasshopper said patting cricket on the back comfortingly.
Just then Bee flew over. He was looking in the flowers for nectar.
“Hello, Grasshopper. Hello, Cricket. I didn’t think I would see you here today.” Bee greeted them knowing they usually don’t come to the park on this day.
“We decided to be brave today,” Grasshopper said flashing a smile and winking at Cricket who smiled sheepishly.
“Enjoy the celebration,” said Bee, “I found the flower I was looking for.”
“Bye Bee,” Grasshopper and Cricket replied.
They walked some more in the flowers, when Butterfly flew by and landed on one.
“Hello, Grasshopper. Hello, Cricket. Going on a picnic?” Butterfly asked looking at the basket in Grasshoppers hands.
“Yes, isn’t it a beautiful day?” Grasshopper responded.
“Yes, but there sure are a lot of people and kids. I almost got caught in a net earlier by a young boy.” Butterfly continued while Cricket listened horrified.
“That’s awful!” Cricket said. “Grasshopper, maybe we should go home before anything dangerous happens.”
“Nonsense and spoil a perfectly good day for a picnic,” replied Grasshopper trying to encourage Cricket and looking disapprovingly at Butterfly.
“I’m sure I was just flying were I shouldn’t have,” added Butterfly to assuage any fears Cricket might have from what was said earlier.
“Well I’m sure you are looking forward to that nectar as we are looking forward to our picnic,” continued Grasshopper hinting that they would be moving on.
“Oh, yes,” responded Butterfly catching the hint. “There are some very good bushes just up the way that would be ideal for a picnic and keep you hidden.” With that he flew away.
“Let’s go there, Grasshopper,” said Cricket more excitedly.
When they reached the bushes, they sat down to eat their mudgrass sandwiches and bluegrass chips. Soon balls of all sorts and sizes were flying and rolling past the bushes making Cricket nervous. Grasshopper looked on with amazement at all the action. Cricket started to eat quicker hoping Grasshopper would agree to go home when they had finished. Grasshopper lazily ate his food and interrupted his eating with an occasional, “Ooh! Look at that, Cricket!” and a “Wow! Did you see that, Cricket!” Cricket was onto the sweetgrass cake way before Grasshopper had finished his mudgrass sandwich. After what seemed like forever for Cricket, Grasshopper finished his lunch and dessert.
“Are you ready to go, Grasshopper!”
“Well it does look like the sun is beginning to set,” began Grasshopper, “maybe it is time to go.”
Cricket hurriedly cleaned up the picnic before Grasshopper could change his mind. Then they started to walk home.