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Adventures of a cricket, 70 years after

A man and his son look at different versions of De Men Phieu Luu Ky (Adventures of a Cricket) in an exhibit celebrating the book's 70th birthday. Photo by Minh Thu/Viet Nam News

Publication Date : 21-11-2012


Many illustrative paintings depicting scenes from the beloved children's tale "De Men Phieu Luu Ky (Adventures of a Cricket)", written by To Hoai, are currently on display at the Hanoi Writers Association to celebrate 70 years since the book's release.

The story was printed in 37 languages and is popular in many countries in the world. Each new edition comes with new illustrations and interpretations, allowing the world of the cricket and his friends to become closer and clearer to children, according to Hoai, who is now 93.

Many different illustrated copies of the tale printed in Vietnamese and other languages are on display at the association's office on 29 Hang Buom Street, Hanoi.

The book is about the adventures of a cricket who leaves his nest and travels to different places. He grows up and learns by overcoming difficult situations with the help of many different people and animals.

"I often played with friends beside the To Lich River," Hoai said, "and one day I met a cricket who told me his adventure. I found it interesting and useful for young friends as it could motivate them to live a determined life by disparaging laziness and malignancy and praising peace and happiness. Afterwards I decided to write the story down for young readers."

"The book is not only a tale for children, it also evokes the ideals of young people like me that time," Hoai explained.

Hoai wrote the first version of the story in 1941, and named it "Con De Men (A Cricket)". One year later, he added some short stories and released them together as "De Men Phieu Luu Ky", the version celebrated today. Since then it has captured the imaginations of generations of children, and is the most translated of all Vietnamese children's books.

Since 1986, extracts from the adventures have been included in literature schoolbooks and the characters in the story have become friends with generations of Vietnamese students.

"When 'De Men Phieu Luu Ky' was printed in Thailand, a plastic figurine of cricket was also made as gift for children and one was sent to me," Hoai said. "In Germany, the book was published with a notebook with scientific identities of characters in the story such as cricket, grasshopper and mantis."

A workshop on the book's value and its influence among young people took place at the ceremony, with participation from many readers, writers, teachers and researchers.

"At the age of 70, Cricket is not old but he remains young as a friend of all Vietnamese children forever," said critic Pham Xuan Nguyen.

"Through the story, the author encourages people to walk new paths, try new works, and build a happy life, rather than staying in a sullen society," he added.

To mark the anniversary, a new version of the book hand-written by the author has been released by Kim Dong Publishing House, where most of Hoai's works have been printed.  


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