Cricket is an illustrated literary magazine for children published in the United States, founded in September 1973 by Marianne Carus, whose intent was to create "The New Yorker for children." Marianne Carus still serves as the magazine's editor-in-chief.
Each issue of Cricket is 48 pages. The magazine is published nine times a year (monthly, with some of the summer months combined) by the Carus Publishing Company of Peru, Illinois. Its target audience is children from 9 to 14 years old. Until March 1995, Cricket was published by the Open Court Publishing Company of La Salle, Illinois, now part of Carus.
Cricket publishes original stories, poems, folk tales, articles and illustrations by such notable artists as Trina Schart Hyman, the magazine's art director from 1973 to 1979. Carus has solicited materials from well-known authors and illustrators, including Lloyd Alexander, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Hilary Knight, William Saroyan, Ursula K. Le Guin, Eric Carle, Stacy Curtis, Wallace Tripp, Charles Ghigna and Paul O. Zelinsky. Cricket also runs contests and publishes work by its readers. Hyman contributed to the magazine until her death in 2004.
One distinct feature of Cricket is the illustrated cast of recurring characters that appears in the margins of each issue, similar to a comic strip. These characters include Cricket, Ladybug, and other friends, most of whom are also insects. The characters are involved in a storyline that runs throughout the issue, but also comment on the articles above them. They define difficult words, draw attention to unusual facts, and otherwise annotate the magazine's content.
On the last page of each issue is the "Old Cricket Says" column, in which Old Cricket points out a bit of wisdom or a witticism, or introduces themes to be explored in the upcoming issues of Cricket. This recurring column has been ghostwritten by a number of authors and editors who worked for Cricket, but a preponderance of them were written by author Lloyd Alexander until his death in 2007.
Cricket has spawned several spin-off magazines for different age groups, currently Babybug (up to 3 years old), Ladybug (2-6), Spider (6-9) and Cicada (for teenagers).
In 2003, Cricket Books published Celebrate Cricket: 30 Years of Stories and Art (ISBN 0-8126-2695-8), a retrospective that republishes stories from the magazine and includes interviews with some of the founders and contributors.