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The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket and His Friends #1)

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4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  51,677 Ratings  ·  1,269 Reviews
One night, the sounds of New York City--the rumbling of subway trains, thrumming of automobile tires, hooting of horns, howling of brakes, and the babbling of voices--is interrupted by a sound that even Tucker Mouse, a jaded inhabitant of Times Square, has never heard before. Mario, the son of Mama and Papa Bellini, proprietors of the subway-station newsstand, had only hea ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 11th 1999 by Yearling (first published 1960)
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Jewell
Apr 11, 2012 Jewell rated it it was amazing
All of us writers have so much to learn from this book. If you are not a writer, skip this paragraph. If you are, or aspire to be, a writer, try this exercise: 1. Type out the first few paragraphs of A Cricket in Times Square as you read them. Feel the music in your fingers. Feel the light quickness of the sentences. 2. Turn to the end of the book (if you have read it before!), and type out the last few paragraphs. Take a moment to feel it again. You have just felt in your own fingers a little b ...more
Jessica
Oct 21, 2007 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fivestars
I remember my third grade teacher reading this book aloud to us every day after lunch, and I remember really enjoying it, but I could barely remember the main characters when I recently picked it up again! I fell in love with it while reading it this time, it's such a charming story. I love this kind of children's book - a self-contained book with appealing characters you root for, amusing escapades, a unique and distinct setting that you grow to know and understand, and an overarching plot that ...more
Pamela
Charming, sweet, and endearing . . . a timeless juvenile classic celebrating friendship, and learning to embrace challenges by working together to rise above adversity - but yet staying true to one's roots.
ABC
Sep 07, 2012 ABC rated it it was amazing
Shelves: older-kids
I loved this book when I was a kid. It's a good book to read right now (early September) because it ends in September. (According to the book, crickets chirp most in late summer. This book spans from the beginning of summer to September.) It is also a good book to read if you are planning a trip to New York City, or even Connecticut (Chester's original home.)

The Chinese man's accent is just awful and I cleaned it up when I read this book aloud to my son, but basically it has a good depiction of
...more
Lizzie
Really glad to give this a reread. I read it in grade school, far away from NYC, long before I thought of living here. (Tangentially, I bought this copy at Half Price Books near Iowa City.) I know that absolutely none of the details of New York came through for me then, because they were entirely outside my frame of reference, so I was really curious about them now.

Well, 4 stars for the New Yorkiness! It really does a great job, and feels really accurate. A lot of the environment is completely r
...more
Dominick
It would seem churlish to give this book two stars, but three seems generous. It's a pleasant enough diversion, I suppose, apart from its plausibility problems: Chester Cricket ends up travelling from Connecticut to Times Square in a picnic basket, gets claimed by a kid whose folks run a newsstand in the train station, and befriends a mouse who's a bit of a hustler (Tucker, the closest thing to an interesting character in the book) and a quiet, feral (in name only; he acts anything but feral) ca ...more
Christopher Bunn
Jan 16, 2014 Christopher Bunn rated it it was amazing
My wife and I are currently reading this book out loud to our little rascally offspring. When we started, I had a dim memory of the book from when I first read it as a child, ages ago. Selden's style and story stand both the test of time and the test of multi-generational readability.

Cricket is a delightful book, written with a gentle touch that shows both affection for the characters and readers. The characters, Chester the cricket, Tucker the mouse, Mario the little Italian news stand boy, et
...more
Jen
May 03, 2017 Jen rated it really liked it
This book was dated, written in the 50s I believe, so the old Chinese man in Chinatown spoke with an "l" in lieu of "r"s ("velly" instead of "very", etc.). That was a bit on the not-so-good side and brought this book down a star, but the rest of the book was really quite sweet. There was one scene where I was actually tearing up, but mostly because I was imagining that scene actually happening, that people would all unite in silence and peace at the same moment, and be as one. It was really movi ...more
george
Apr 23, 2008 george rated it really liked it
A cricket, a mouse, and a cat are an unlikely trio--but that's the primary cast of friendy characters in this book. Chester Cricket is from the country and accidentally ends up in the Times Square subway station in Manhatten. It's there that he meets spunky Tucker the mouse and quiet Harry the cat. Chester is found by Mario, a younf boy who works at his parents newstand. Surrounded by new friends, Chester is excited to see new sights and experience new things. And his friends are thrilled to fin ...more
Erin Bow
Because the Owlet fell in love with Trumpet of the Swan (we read it five times in a row!) I bought her this for Christmas. After one more go round with E.B. White we dove in, me hoping to prove that there is more than one good chapter book in the world.

There is.

Now I just need a third gentle, excellent chapter book about anthropomorphized animals who are musically inclined.
Matthew
May 15, 2017 Matthew rated it liked it
A quick little story that was thoroughly predictable but still managed to be enjoyable. After reading several heavy non-fictions, it was nice to read something simple and childlike. Selden does an excellent job and I will definitely be reading this again with my kids.
Taylor McLemore
Dec 21, 2012 Taylor McLemore rated it liked it
The Cricket in Times Square was one of my favorite books I've read. The book is about a cricket who finds his life in Times Square. Chester is the cricket's name. He is originally from Connecticut, but he got on a wrong train. Also, in the book, there is this kid named Mario. Mario finds Chester in his parent's shop. Mario's mother wants him out, but Mario's father things that Mario should keep Chester.
During his adventure in Times Square, he meets Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat. Tucker and Harry a
...more
Azzan Khan
Aug 29, 2013 Azzan Khan rated it it was amazing
Oh no! A poor cricket by the name of chester ends up in time square away from his home.But lucky for him a boy named Mario found him and took care of him in a news stand were Chester discovers his true talent.The Cricket in Times Square is a great book that follows the point of view of Chester the cricket and his two friends Harry the cat and Tucker the mouse.I enjoy how it shows detail in every day New York life at the subway and on the streets.I also enjoy how they tie in a Chinese culture in ...more
Denae Christine
May 13, 2017 Denae Christine rated it really liked it
Reader thoughts: This really reminds me of Charlotte's Web. It had the creature who felt new and alone (Wilbur/Chester), and creatures who wanted to help (Charlotte and Templeton / Harry and Tucker). It has a family who is poor but friendly toward animals, and the new animal (pig / cricket) becomes famous because of the help of the animal friends.

I liked this book better, actually, plot wise. It has a happy ending, Chester has actual talent not just a cool spider web. It is set in the middle of
...more
Kristin
Feb 27, 2017 Kristin rated it it was amazing
A big favorite here. Tony Shalhoub does a brilliant job with the audio book. Highly recommended.
Jessika
Yesterday felt like a good day to visit a favorite childhood read, so I curled up with The Cricket in Times Square for the evening. I have vivid memories of my third grade teacher reading this to us, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember what the plot was about. All I could remember was sitting on that circle rug during storytime being enthralled by the story.

Now that I've re-read it, I can totally see why I loved this so much growing up. Uhhh hello! Talking animals! When I was little (ev
...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Nov 19, 2015 Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) rated it liked it
Recommends it for: kids age 6-7 and their parents
It took 9 years for the author to write another "installment" so it's safe to say this was originally a standalone novel. I remember reading it several times in the sixties and seventies and loving it. Then an animated film was made, which for some reason I didn't like. I only saw it once, but I do remember they made it even schmaltzier than the book. Which is pretty schmaltzy, but in a positive way.

Published in 1960, I got the feeling at the adult re-reading that it must have been written or at
...more
Isabel
The pictures are fabulous.

Selden creates a little subculture of animals in this book that end up revealing a lot about human beings. It is very sweet that each animal is so different and yet they fit together in a strong friendship.

Similarly, Mario learns about crickets from the generous Chinese merchant who tells him a tale from his own country. His story conveys that crickets are forever dispelling wisdom that no one can understand anymore. This idea of underappreciated or invisible presence
...more
Josiah
Apr 17, 2009 Josiah rated it really liked it
I first read this as part of a school project in fifth grade. I had high hopes for the story, as my teacher Mrs. Williams had at that point required us to read as a class three books that I to this day consider to be among the best I have ever read (E.B. White's "The Trumpet of the Swan", John D. Fitzgerald's "More Adventures of the Great Brain", and Katherine Paterson's "Bridge to Terabithia").
The Cricket in Times Square was yet another unquestionable hit, in my eyes. I loved the general feel
...more
Alan
Aug 12, 2009 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I don't normally like books with talking animals and I don't like Newberry Medal books either but this one was great.

The Times Square subway station from The Cricket in Times Square is full of fiction and nonfiction. Some examples of nonrealistic things would be Tucker Mouse, Harry Cat, Chester Cricket, and the Bellinis. Some realistic parts are the shuttle train and the station itself.

Tucker Mouse is a city mouse that lives in a drain pipe with a city cat named Harry. For som
...more
Adrienne
While I remember reading this book for school when I was very young, I didn't remember much about the plot. It's really an interesting look at New York City in the middle of the 20th century, and was maybe one of my first introductions to the Big Apple. I remember wondering before reading the book if "Times Square" had something to do with time travel or some other kind of science fiction.

Of course, there's nothing like that in George Selden's classic book. It's a simple and sweet tale of someon
...more
Madeline
Jun 01, 2013 Madeline rated it it was ok
A cricket named Chester finds himself in the heart of New York City’s underground Times Square station after he slipped in a picnic basket back in Connecticut. A young boy named Mario, whose family owns a periodical stand in the subway station, finds the cricket when he hears him chirping late one night. Mario takes the cricket as a pet, despite the argument of his mother, Mama Bellini. While in the subway station he makes friends with an arrogant mouse named Tucker and a mellow cat named Harry. ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Nov 01, 2013 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comments: I have read this book several times now and I still get a little teary-eyed at the end. A warm, gentle story that entertains kids and adults. My 7yo enjoyed the book though it is not a page-turner but more a slow-paced, heart-warming book. One where the characters become your friends. The language is wonderfully descriptive and memorable. Every time I pick this book up I start to remember the scenes of the old Chinese man at the store in China Town. I can't talk about the book without ...more
Lena
Jan 11, 2014 Lena rated it it was ok
This book was sort of neat, but sort of odd. I didn't connect with the characters in an emotional way. Yes, they were animals, but so was, say, Ralph S. Mouse, who I adored. It was hard for me to muster enough sympathy to feel for these characters. They all struck me as a bit flat. I didn't feel a thing when the cricket stopped singing, or wanted to go home. He was a little TOO good to be truly interesting.
The mouse was annoying, and did a lot of bad things, but was never caught or punished. Th
...more
Erin
Mar 20, 2011 Erin rated it really liked it
What a sweet and appealing story about three unlikely friends. A mouse, a cat, a cricket...and a struggling family owned newstand. I was enchanted by this little story. I loved the setting of 1960s New York and all of the references to that bygone era. I was especially interested in the soda jerk and the wonderful concoctions he would make. It is a shame such things don't exist anymore. I don't know how I never came into contact with this story when I was little but somehow I missed it and it's ...more
John
Jul 31, 2010 John rated it liked it
I read this to the kids over the last few weeks at bedtime. They seemed to enjoy it a good deal. My own thoughts are that the book seems a bit less than the sum of its parts. The musical flourish in the last few chapters is a nice direction to take the book, but it just never feels quite as grand as it should.

That said, the book moves along at a nice clip. Selden builds in a fair amount of fun interaction between the animals. And the book as a whole is a fun read. It's just not going to be at th
...more
Bonnie
Aug 20, 2012 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A charming little book that I remembered reading and liking as a child. However, "reading and liking" is all I really remembered, so the story was pretty much brand new to me this time around. But I still like it. :) A simple tale of a cricket from Connecticut who accidentally finds himself lost in a New York subway station and spends the summer with his friends Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat and his human friends the Bellinis who run a not very prosperous newstand and how Chester Cricket saves thei ...more
Harper
Oct 06, 2015 Harper rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I have to say, I was disappointed in how this book turned out. I thought I would love this book, but I couldn't get into it. I didn't make it to the last chapters.

{Reread in March 2016}

I forced myself to finish the book this time, and it wasn't any better even though I finished it. The characters are boring, the story is boring, everything is boring. My rating is not going to go up. And the ending was depressing as well. Nope, not reading this again, that's for sure.
Anne-Marie
Oct 06, 2010 Anne-Marie rated it liked it
Interview with Miles Pope, Age 6

Q: So, what did you think?

A: I thought it was, like, pretty good - but I don't understand why Chester and Harry and Tucker talks. I know that is ridiculous but I guess that is how The Cricket of Time Square works.

Q: And the pictures?

A: I thought some looked funny. I thought some looked natural.

Q: Did you know Chester would move back to Conneticut?

A: Oh, yeah. I know.
Derrick Ruthless
Feb 27, 2016 Derrick Ruthless rated it it was amazing
A wonderful little book.

“Just this once, in the very heart of the busiest of cities, everyone was perfectly content not to move and hardly to breathe. And for those few minutes, while the song lasted, Times Square was still as a meadow at evening, with the sun streaming in on the people there and the wind moving among them as if they were only tall blades of grass.”
― George Selden, The Cricket in Times Square
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George Selden (1929-1989) was the author of The Cricket in Times Square, winner of the 1961 Newbery Honor and a timeless children's classic. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Selden received his B.A. from Yale, where he was a member of the Elizabethan Club and contributed to the literary magazine. He spent three summer sessions at Columbia University and, after college, studied for a year in Rome on ...more
More about George Selden...

Other Books in the Series

Chester Cricket and His Friends (7 books)
  • Tucker's Countryside
  • Harry Cat's Pet Puppy
  • Chester Cricket's Pigeon Ride
  • Chester Cricket's New Home
  • Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse
  • The Old Meadow

Share This Book



“I guess I'm just feeling Septemberish," sighed Chester. "It's getting towards autumn now. And it's so pretty up in Connecticut. All the trees change color. The days get very clear―with a little smoke on the horizon from burning leaves. Pumpkins begin to come out.” 10 likes
“Talent is something rare and beautiful and precious,
and it must not be allowed to go to waste.”
8 likes
More quotes…