The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket and His Friends) Hardcover – 1 Apr 2008
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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 heard the sound once. What was this new, strangely musical chirping? None other than the mellifluous leg-rubbing of the somewhat disoriented Chester Cricket from Connecticut. Attracted by the irresistible smell of liverwurst, Chester had foolishly jumped into the picnic basket of some unsuspecting New Yorkers on a junket to the country. Despite the insect's wurst intentions, he ends up in a pile of dirt in Times Square.
Mario is elated to find Chester. He begs his parents to let him keep the shiny insect in the newsstand, assuring his bug-fearing mother that crickets are harmless, maybe even good luck. What ensues is an altogether captivating spin on the city mouse/country mouse story, as Chester adjusts to the bustle of the big city. Despite the cricket's comfortable matchbox bed (with Kleenex sheets); the fancy, seven-tiered pagoda cricket cage from Sai Fong's novelty shop; tasty mulberry leaves; the jolly company of Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat; and even his new-found fame as "the most famous musician in New York City", Chester begins to miss his peaceful life in the Connecticut countryside. The Cricket in Times Square--a Newbery Award runner-up in 1961--is charmingly illustrated by the well-loved Garth Williams, and the tiniest details of this elegantly spun, vividly told, surprisingly suspenseful tale will stick with children for years and years. Make sure this classic sits on the shelf of your child, right next to The Wind in the Willows. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The story of a musical cricket and his friends, a mouse and a cat of real character, who took up their abode in a Times Square newsstand . . . Most appealing whimsy with beautiful illustrations by Garth Williams."--"School Library Journal," Starred Review "Delightful reading for the whole family."--"The Horn Book Magazine"
"This is absolutely grand fun for anyone, a nine to ninety book with the most enchanting portraits by Garth Williams."--"The New York Herald Tribune"
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Top Customer Reviews
The writing is marvelous. The central characters have spirit and style. This book screams "New York City attitude", in a good way. You feel you are in Times Square Station. You feel the time period. You know these people. They have charm and decency and grit.
And then you hit the Chinese characters. The most laughably offensive fake Chinese pidgin English ever. And you cringe. Which is a terrible shame, since the Chinese gentlemen who are portrayed are kind, gentle and generous.
So what do you do. Explain the book? Skip the Chinese parts? Just avoid it? That, of course, is up to you. Just bear in mind that the book itself is worth the trouble of trying to figure out a solution that lets you read it to your kids.
The story finds a country cricket, Chester, unwittingly stranded in New York City. After falling asleep in a picnic basket in Connecticut, he wakes up in a world that is totally different to him. He is befriended by Mario, a young boy who helps his parents run a newsstand in the subway. Chester encounters Tucker, a wizened city mouse, and his friend, Harry Cat. The two teach Chester how to live in the city and enjoy the wonders of the subway.
Soon, everyone learns of Chester's talent of recreating any music he hears, and spellbounds Mario's parents, music critics, and subway commuters alike. But Chester quickly becomes tired of the constant performing, and misses his quiet country life. Tucker and Harry do their best to ensure that Chester finds his way back home.
With the talents of Tony Shalhoub, Chester Cricket, Harry Cat, and Tucker Mouse become real characters that the listener can instantly relate to. Even though the story is about animals in a Times Square subway station, the listener gets drawn in and wants there to be a happy ending.
Mr. Shalhoub creates unique voices for each of the characters, and from the very beginning, it is easy to decipher which character is doing the speaking. I listened to the story (an unabridged production on two CDs) with my two children and they were immediately enchanted. With classical music signaling the end of each chapter, they both would shout out the next one.
For anyone not familiar with the classic tale, listening to it will be an adventure.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a charming book, atmospheric and evocative. certainly a book every thoughtful child should read.Published 13 months ago by Wendy Onslow
I was recommended to this book and enjoyed it very much. A very unusual perspective.Published 19 months ago by Wessex Woman
One of the best books for children I have come across. Characters are well drawn and amusing. This is a super book to read aloud to children if you can do a New York accent.Published on 25 Feb. 2013 by P. G. Thomas
Just as good as I remember it from a kid although a few un PC bits in that would definitely be edited out today -- still the themes of friendship, loyalty and caring about others... Read morePublished on 21 May 2012 by Shannon Mckinney
I read hundreds of books in my youth, and this is one that stands out clearly in my memory. The story and style of writing are captivating, and the reader is easily swept away,... Read morePublished on 7 Feb. 2009 by Elizabeth Houlihan