'Adele Wiseman's Kenji and the Cricket, which recounts the quest of a Japanese war orphan for a family, addresses every child's desire for love and security. Kenji, a starving street boy, adopts a pet cricket that leads him to a childless couple who in turn adopt him. The warmth of the narrative is enhanced by Shizuye Takashima's watercolour illustrations, whose blurred edges relieve the harshness of the details of Kenji's daily life and give the story the cast of memoir or fable.'
'This is a beautiful Canadian book. It is a charming story which will be enjoyed particularly by junior children. Picture books with strong story lines are essential to the reading program in grades 3-5. There is simply not enough of this kind of book. The story will provoke much thought and discussion. It lends itself to language across the curriculum. The paintings are beautiful and I am glad to say enhance the narrative line significantly. I will strongly recommend this book to teachers and parents in my reading course. It is a most prestigious book for children and, I am certain, will become a favourite for many years to come.'
'Kenji and the Cricket is Adele Wiseman's first book for children. She has been able to capture the undaunted optimism and sense of wonder often seen in children. She tells her story gently and movingly. We are touched by young Kenji's plight, yet we marvel at his inner strength and happy spirit. ... Wiseman's happy ending is a satisfying conclusion for her young readers. She has challenged them throughout the book with sophisticated vocabulary and with a conscience-raising story line. Shizuye Takashima has illustrated the text with delicate watercolours. Kenji and the Cricket is a book with unique charm for children six and up.'
'August 6 [is] the anniversary date of the bombing of Hiroshima. Shortly afterwards Japan surrendered. In the wake of such catastrophic defeat, thousands of children were orphaned. Kenji and the Cricket ... is the story of such a war orphan.... [It] is a little known classic of Canadian children's literature.'