Tell Those Crickets to be Quiet!

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Oct 17, 2013 / 0 comments

A long-lost treasure. A career in music, possibly foreshadowed by a childhood of nature's music? A charming and beautifully illustrated children's book, brought back to life.


I recently received a review copy of Tell Those Crickets to be Quiet!, written by Nancy McKown and illustrated by Maddie Maranto. It's a lovely story, one of peace and learning and, yes, cricket noise! And, it's perfect for families (of course), but also for traveling families. For we all know how street noise in different cities around the world can keep us up - as can the noises of nature, whether we're in an open air villa in Bali or camping in Yosemite.


Tell Those Crickets to be Quiet!


I have a feeling that once family travelers get hold of this book, they'll have a beloved tale to soothe those night noises, wherever they are in the world.


We were lucky enough to catch up with author Nancy McKown, to ask about the book, inspiration, crickets, teaching kids to appreciate nature, and more. Here's what she had to say...


Please tell us about your new children's book, Tell Those Crickets to be Quiet!

Tell Those Crickets To Be Quiet! was written 30 years ago for my 3 year old daughter Meghan, who could not fall asleep because the "cricket noise" on the porch was too loud. It's about a little girl who gets herself so worked up about the loud cricket "noise", that she decides to climb out of her crib and do something about it.


What inspired you to write this book?

When Meg was little, she assumed that she and her Mom could just tell the crickets to be quiet. When I told her that crickets didn't listen to Moms or anyone else, Meg was not ready to believe that.

Nature's music is all around us. I wrote the story because I wanted Meg to think about and listen to the music of nature. I wanted her stop trying to control the cricket "noise" and instead, find comfort in the cricket's music so she could fall sleep and dream.


Tell Those Crickets to be Quiet!


Does Meg still like crickets?

Meghan does indeed like crickets and other insects that "sing".  She became a professional musician and teaches voice and piano in Chicago.


How can parents teach their kids to appreciate nature?

By helping them to identify what different insects sound like and to appreciate their sounds as music.  There are lots of musicians/scientists out there studying the music of nature and how it impacts human music.  One example is David Rothenberg: Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise who records the "humming, clicking and thrumming insects."


Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

I wrote lots of stories for my children when they were young.  Tell Those Crickets To Be Quiet! is the only one that survives.  I love how this story takes me back to that moment when Meg couldn't sleep because of cricket noise.  Now, our grandchildren can hear and appreciate the story, and can visualize their Aunt Meg as a child.

Meghan enjoyed listening to the story when she was little, even though there were no illustrations. This story was originally typed on an electric typewriter, and then pasted into a blank book. 30 years later, Meg still has the original book, although it is very worn. The cover has detached and the threaded binding has torn away.


Tell Those Crickets to be Quiet! original


Last year, as a Christmas gift for me, Meghan boxed the original book along with a printout of the newly designed artwork for the cover. To my surprise, Meghan had hired a young and very talented art student, Maddie Maranto, to work with me to illustrate the story.

I encourage parents to preserve the stories they write for their children.  It will mean so much to past and future generations.


You can find Tell Those Crickets to be Quiet! at Amazon:

Find Nancy online at:

All photos courtesy and copyright Nancy McKown