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Grandmother Cricket (Abuela Grillo) — Denis Chapon, 2009

Abuela Grillo is the grandmother of a cricket whose songs can bring rain to this earth. She settles in a village where she is initially welcomed. Overjoyed, she sings and sings until the valleys are flooded. The villagers get angry and chase her away. While traveling, she is lured by corporate giants who promise her fame but then hold her captive. They harness the rain to bottle the water and sell it; as a result, those whose lands had plenty start to run dry. Who will save them? And who will save Abuela Grillo?

Classroom Activities

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  • Watch the first 40 seconds. How do those opening titles differ from the animation that follows when the narrative begins? What style does it seem to have? Why was this chosen?
  • Look closely at the colours used at different stages in the film and/or for different settings. Is there a scheme or pattern that is apparent at these different stages? Why were these colours chosen?
  • What creatures do Abuela Grillo, the two businessmen/guards and the head businessman seem to represent? How can you tell? What characteristics of these creatures do the characters share?
  • Using Freeze Frame and the Spot the Shots worksheet, watch the sequence from 05:23 to 06:16 minutes where Grandmother Cricket attempts to escape. What camera shots can be identified? How long are the shots between cuts? How are they combined in the edit to make the sequence thrilling?
  • Watch the storm sequence (from 08:39 and 09:09 minutes). What do you notice about the animation here? Why did the filmmaker choose to animate the sequence this way?
  • Why doesn’t Grandmother Cricket stay in the village again at the end of the film? What message are we getting from this?


  • The Ayoreo are the nomadic indigenous people of Eastern Bolivia who believe in the legend of Direjná, the grandmother of a cricket whose songs can bring rain to this earth. What legends and myths are typical to your culture?
  • Some countries suffer from too much or too little rain. What are some other things that countries can suffer from having too much or too little of? What are the effects?
  • How does Grandmother Cricket represent old women in society? (Lead pupils to the idea that their knowledge and contributions are often ignored.) Why is this an unfair representation? Can you think of more positive representations of older women in films, stories, etc.?
  • Ask pupils about their relationships with elderly family members/friends. Discuss whether they behave in an “elderly” way and what the pupils have learned from these family members/friends.



  • Write a poem about the sudden arrival of water: either as a flood or ending a drought. Read Imtiaz Dharker’s poem ‘Blessing’ for inspiration.
  • Write a story about a legend typical to your culture or create your own legend. Aim to have a moral to your tale.
  • Write the story from Grandmother Cricket’s point-of-view.
  • Choose a sequence from the film and write the dialogue for it.


  • Make a poster highlighting the biggest everyday pollutants of water.


  • Grandmother Cricket encounters one of the villagers who sent her away. Role-play the conversation they might have had at that point.


  • Find out more about the impact of too much rain and too little rain. What is the world more in danger from right now?
  • We buy a lot of bottled water these days; but how did our tap water become unhygienic? Research the causes and possible solutions.
  • Come up with ideas for how to avoid floods or droughts.


  • This film was made in response to the protested privatisation of water in Bolivia. Find out more about the privatisation of water and its impact on society.
  • What is at risk of privatisation in Scotland/the UK right now? What would be the impact of this happening?


  • The legend of Abuela Grillo comes from Bolivia. Find out more about this country and its culture.