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The Cricket in Times Square

(Chester Cricket and His Friends #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  58,369 ratings  ·  1,643 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 ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 134 pages
Published May 11th 1999 by Yearling (first published 1960)
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Bug My gentle 6yo boy loved this as a read-aloud.
Rithvik Gowda Yes. I think the book has 12 chapters or 13 chapters.

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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  58,369 ratings  ·  1,643 reviews

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Apr 11, 2012 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 ...more
Oct 21, 2007 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
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Would have been higher but for the kind of painful portrayal of two Chinese gentleman and of Mario's mother; they felt rather like stereotypes.
This was one of my favourite stories as a kid. I read this and "Tucker's Countryside" several times over. The characters are gentle and kind, even somewhat greedy Tucker mouse. Harry cat remains sleek and cool on this reread, which doesn't surprise me as that's what cats are.
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.
Sep 07, 2012 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
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
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
A lot to like (loved the scenes that depicted NYC in all its glory), but several instances where characters' actions rang a sour note. They acted one way for chapter upon chapter then said or did something that rang completely untrue. Took you out of the story. In a way, it felt almost like a talented self-published author's first publication. There was a lot to like but it was marred by several glaring mistakes that should have been instantly recognizable.
Mary Beth Phelps
I wish I could give this book five stars instead of three. George Selden had a gift for very quickly developing delightful characters, both human and anthropomorphic, as well as writing stellar dialogue. The exchanges between Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat frequently made me laugh, and I found myself sharing some of them aloud with my husband. Garth Williams contributed fantastic art, as usual, and, while each book is totally unique, this combination of story + illustrations is on par with Mrs. ...more
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) ...more
Luisa Knight
Love. Love. Love.

It's one of the cutest stories I can think of and will always be one of the first several books I'll recommend to a parent looking for a fun read-aloud for her five to eight year old.

Ages: 5/6+

Children's Bad Words: sucker, gosh

Attitudes/Disobedience - 2 Incidents: The cricket accidentally eats a two-dollar bill and feels very sad about it. His friend the mouse suggests various ways to hide the incident or to blame someone else to get them in trouble, but the
Christopher Bunn
Jan 16, 2014 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,
Apr 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
I first read The Cricket in Times Square 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 three books that are still among the best I've 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 turned out to be another big hit. The narrative follows the misplaced Chester Cricket
May 03, 2017 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 ...more
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
Being forced to read this in school and doing the retarded homework assignments/projects related to this pretty much fucking ruined it for me.


You dun goofed, educators of the public school system.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animal, drama
A truly delightful and heartwarming little tale for all ages. It touches upon themes of homesickness, prejudice, fame and friendship between Chester Cricket and his human and animal friends. The perfect story to read on the plane coming home from a New York City vacation!
N.N. Light
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorites growing up and I recently re-read it. Guess what? It's even better than I remember. A great adventure with engaging characters.

My Rating: 5 stars
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is definitely meant for a younger reader, maybe 2-4th grades, but I thought it was such a cute, sweet story of friendship. Reminds me of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little.
Apr 23, 2008 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 ...more
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a childhood favorite (I still own my original copy!) and I re-read it both to pass off a reading challenge category and because I'd been wanting to remind myself of the story. The cuteness of the story held up well. The only thing that didn't hold up was the stereotyped and possibly racist characterization of Mario and Chester's Chinese friend.
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.
Shawn Thrasher
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Cricket in Times Square is not exactly a rip-off of (the far superior) Charlotte's Web; it's not even an imitation; rather, it's Charlotte's Web-adjacent. Instead of a spider, you have a cricket; instead of writing in a web, you have a cricket playing opera and classical music; instead of saving a pig's life, the cricket is repaying debt. You get the gist though. These two books are in the same fantasyland, next-door neighbors to one another, or maybe even long lost cousins. The weirdness of ...more
Monica Willyard Moen
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nls
What a delightful story! Sometimes, it really is good to be a kid again.
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
this was fine. it was not exciting in any way but good.
Snazzy Reads
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This one really played with my emotions-- happy then sad then happy then sad.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very sweet book about friendship and sacrifice. The classic illustrations by Garth Williams are a charming accompaniment. I think this is a children's classic worthy of the distinction.
Jen Chile
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun read following our NYC trip at Christmas. Great chapter book for little people and fun for mama to reread.
Maximilian Lee
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
For 9-13-ish. I didn't like this book because it was sad when Chester left. It also was sad when Chester stopped giving performances. I think it was cute how the trio of animals kept on having parties even if the humans knew they were.
Taylor McLemore
Dec 21, 2012 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
Jul 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
Omg the librarian gave this to me and said it was a Newbery winner. It was, won an honor, but my god, I only sat through it because I thought it was on the list of award winners, not honors. I should have checked more closely. I hated this book so thoroughly and I'm not sure if it was the book, or the fact that the audio recording is so divinely hideous, it belongs in one of Dante's layers of hell. The mouse sounds like a bad Gilbert Godfrey and speaks volumes louder than anyone else. The cat ...more
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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

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
“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.” 12 likes
“Talent is something rare and beautiful and precious,
and it must not be allowed to go to waste.”
More quotes…