Sunday, March 24, 2013

Book Review: The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

I know my sisters and I loved this book as a child, but I didn't remember much about it. Upon rereading, I am baffled to think of how I might have possibly imagined a New York City subway station, having never been there, let alone Times Square! Luckily, with kids' active imaginations, those things are not usually limitations.

Chester Cricket got into a picnic basket in his home in Connecticut, and ended up accidentally hitching a ride into New York City. He manages to escape in the Times Square subway station, specifically at the shuttle that goes to Grand Central. He is adopted as a pet by Mario, the son of the owners of the newsstand at that stop, and befriended by Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat. They show him around and find him exotic foods and Mario travels to Chinatown to get him a pagoda especially made for crickets. And one day Chester discovers he has an amazing talent, which saves Mario's family's newsstand. Sadly, he also discovers he's really not a city cricket and needs to go back home.

This is a terrific story of friendship, including the surprising cat and mouse friendship, of trusting yourself, and of doing what you need to do for yourself, not for others. Beautifully illustrated by the masterful Garth Williams, I found myself showing the pictures to my boyfriend while I was reading. A charming and sweet portrayal of a city that is rarely either, but filled with charming and sweet creatures great and small, this is a wonderful classic that I hope continues to stand the test of time.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

I bought this book from Scholastic Book Fairs.

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