The Cricket in Times Square | George Selden
Awards: Newbery Honor
When Chester the Cricket accidentally gets swept away from the Connecticut countryside to New York City, he finds himself in the care of a little boy named Mario Bellini. The Bellini Family run a news stand in Times Square Subway Station, and Chester joins their simple city life. He soon makes friends with Harry Cat and Tucker Mouse, two city wise animals that show him the sights and sounds of the station. The three friend spend the summer in the middle of mischief, but the strength of their friendship, and their loyalty to the Bellinis, always guides them through to the end.
The Cricket in Times Square is a simple and compelling story of kindness, friendship, and loyalty, appealing to all ages. The adventures of Harry Cat, Tucker Mouse, and Chester the Cricket range from a dangerous fire to a visit to Chinatown. Through it all we see Chester, a small simple country bug, winning the hearts of the bustling crowds of New York City. His love of music brings a window of beauty to the underground subway and all the many faces that pass by there.
I first met Chester, Tucker, Harry, and Mario when I was eight years old, and I’ve returned to their story several times since. Mr. Selden performs a little miracle with his very simple book about a musical cricket trapped in the big city; he makes you more aware of the beauty in the world around you, no matter your circumstances. He makes you more human, and shines the light on the humanity around us. This book is not wrought with conflict or full of suspense nor is it a page turner but it is full of life. The Cricket in Times Square slows all of us busy people down and makes us look, listen, and pay attention to something as insignificant as the adventures of a cricket. I highly suggest taking a stroll through Times Square where you are sure to enjoy a moment of peace by the Bellini’s news stand in the presence of Chester the Cricket, Tucker Mouse, and even Harry Cat.
Ps. After reading this book for review, I discovered Mr. Selden wrote three sequels, Tucker’s Countryside, Chester Cricket’s Pigeon Ride, and Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse.