What We Are Reading: The Cricket in Times Square (a book review)

what delia is reading 8


The Cricket in Times SquareThe Cricket in Times Square” by George Selden is the story of a Cricket named Chester who meanders into a picnic basket in the Connecticut countryside one day and ends up taking the train with the picnickers back to New York City.

Chester winds up in the Times Square subway station and the sound of his chirping causes Mario, the son of Italian immigrants who run a magazine stand in the subway station, to take notice. Mario begs for his parents’ permission to keep Chester as a pet and creates a makeshift bed for him out of a matchbox so he can sleep in the news stand.

Chester befriends a cat named Harry and a mouse named Tucker who also live in the subway station and the three of them become close friends embarking on adventures and having dinner parties together.

Chester has a special talent of mimicking songs on the radio by chirping the way crickets do, and soon, with Tucker Mouse acting as his manager, Chester becomes an overnight New York celebrity!

How did Delia enjoy it?

“The Cricket in Times Square” won the Newberry Honor in 1961. While Delia and I both thought it was a cute story, I wish I would have approached reading the book with the knowledge that it was going to be a simple tale, so I would be able to sit and enjoy the simplicities while they were unfolding instead of waiting for something climatic to happen. The story, to me, is reminiscent a bit like “Charlotte’s Web” with the “miracle” of Chester’s music mimicking the “miracle” of the web. This book was coincidentally illustrated by Garth Williams who illustrated both “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Little House on the Prairie” books. Reading about olden New York City was a treasure as I have a love for that city.

I’d recommend The Cricket in Times Square for children ages 7 to 11 years old.
Check out what else Delia and I have read.
Check out what Delia’s little sister and I have read.

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7 Responses to What We Are Reading: The Cricket in Times Square (a book review)

  1. I too love NYC as my dad was from NY back in his youth. We visited often when I was young. Cricket In Times Square was the first full book I read on my own beside smaller kid books when I was young at age 8 or 9. I didn’t like to read but this book kept me reading and changed my view of books! I still remember it today!

    • Celeste says:

      Hi Susie, you must have great memories from all the visits to NY with your dad. I still remember the first chapter book I read on my own, too (Ramona), but this was the first time I’d ever read this one! I missed out! :)

  2. I remember reading this book as a child. I have never read it with my children. Thanks for the reminder of a simple and charming book I enjoyed as a child.

  3. debsrandomwritings says:

    I used to love reading with my children and we still read together regularly until my daughter was about twelve and my son fifteen. Our favourite author was Michael Morpurgo – his books are great and touch on all aspects of life and he writes for children of all ages.

    I had never heard of The Cricket In Times Square before, but I loved Charlottes Web, so I would probably have loved this too.

    My daughter can’t get enough of books and although she does have a Kindle, much prefers reading ‘real’ books, which I think is great. I like to think that her love of books has come from us enjoying quality time together reading books when she was younger.

    I hope that reading stays with your daughter long after you stop reading together too.

  4. Celeste says:

    Thanks so much, Debbie. They say reading to your children every day is the key to them sustaining that interest and I believe that wholeheartedly because we’ve been doing this since they were babies and it sounds like you pointed your children in the right direction by doing this too. You’re right… it’s such a quality time that is irreplaceable!

    So, I’m not sure if I’d heard of Michael Morpurgo, but I just looked him up and saw he had a pretty vast catalog! Since he’s your fave, if you could recommend a book or two for a girl 6 and/or 8 years old, which would you choose?

  5. Debbie says:

    Hi Celeste, my daughter has said that The Butterfly Lion and Kasper The Prince of Cats were her favourite Michael Morpurgo books aimed at younger children. So I hope that helps you.

    His books take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, which is why I liked reading them to the children. They are also books that I found hard to put down as we always wanted to find out what was going to happen next.

    Some parts can be quite sad, but I used to encourage the children to give the their thoughts on the story, hopefully making them realize that life isn’t always good for everyone.

    You should also check out Born To Run, it would probably be suitable for an eight year old, but maybe a bit old for a six year old.

    My favourite book has to have been Private Peaceful, but I wouldn’t read it to a younger child. War Horse was a probably his most famous book of his and they made that one into the award winning film.

    There is not one book of his that we ever found lacking, so I hope you enjoy reading his books as much as we did……

    The one negative side of having a child that loves reading is the cost of it! We don’t have libraries here and whilst my daughter is fully bilingual she much prefers reading books in English as they don’t always translate well. Other than Amazon we get our books online from The Book People, who sell books at incredibly low prices and post here at reasonable prices too.