The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket Series)

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Overview

After Chester lands, in the Times Square subway station, he makes himself comfortable in a nearby newsstand. There, he has the good fortune to make three new friends: Mario, a little boy whose parents run the falling newsstand, Tucker, a fast-talking Broadway mouse, and Tucker's sidekick, Harry the Cat. The escapades of these four friends in bustling New York City makes for lively listening and humorous ...
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The Cricket in Times Square

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Overview

After Chester lands, in the Times Square subway station, he makes himself comfortable in a nearby newsstand. There, he has the good fortune to make three new friends: Mario, a little boy whose parents run the falling newsstand, Tucker, a fast-talking Broadway mouse, and Tucker's sidekick, Harry the Cat. The escapades of these four friends in bustling New York City makes for lively listening and humorous entertainment. And somehow, they manage to bring a taste of success to the nearly bankrupt newsstand.

The adventures of a country cricket who unintentionally arrives in New York and is befriended by Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A classic Newbery Honor Book first published in 1960, this quiet story of friendship and loyalty continues to charm young readers, particularly those who love animals. This is a quiet tale: Chester Cricket, Tucker Mouse, and Harry Cat meet at the Bellini's newsstand in New York's Times Square subway station when young Mario Bellini finds the cricket in a pile of trash. The lonely boy decides to keep Chester as a pet, and a series of adventures ensue. Action-and-adventure fans may have a difficult time with the leisurely pace and low-key action of this book, but its loving portrait of real friendship continues to make it a classroom favorite with fourth and fifth graders. Modern parents and teachers may want to take a close look at Seldon's portrayal of Sai Fong, the elderly Chinese man who gives Mario a cricket cage. In 1960 racial stereotypes were still common in American literature, and Sai Fong certainly falls into this category. There's nothing ugly here—on the contrary, Sai Fong could not be more lovingly drawn—but his giggling and fractured-English may give offense, nonetheless. Certainly this is an aspect of the book that adults would want to discuss with young readers. Part of the "Chester Cricket" series. 2006 (orig. 1960), Yearling/Random House Children's Books, and Ages 8 to 12.
—Barbara Carroll Roberts
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3 Selden's much loved and acclaimed classic has been abbreviated, retaining only the barest of details. The plot is essentially the same as the original, but the imagery, descriptions, characterizations and dialogue are all pale in comparison. The text evokes no warmth for the characters or the story itself. The addition of many pictures gives the impression that this version is easier to read. Readability tests show that it is not. The cartoon illustrations ``from the acclaimed Hollywood animation'' are colorful, but many are out of focus, and none have the charm of Garth Williams' original illustrations. Selden now has five books featuring Chester Cricket and his friends. Any one of them would be a better choice than this title. Sharron McElmeel, Cedar Rapids Community Schs . , Iowa
From the Publisher
“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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807282854
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/13/2003
  • Series: Chester Cricket and His Friends Series
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 2 cassettes, 2 hrs.
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.32 (w) x 6.96 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

George Selden (1929-1989) wrote not only the adventures of Chester, Harry, Tucker, and their friends but also The Genie of Sutton Place, which was one of School Library Journal’s Best Books of the Year.

 

Tony Shalhoub played the role of the Italian cabdriver Antonio Scarpacci in the long-running sitcom Wings. He is perhaps best known, however, for his role as obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk in the hit television series Monk, for which he has won a Golden Globe and three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Tony has also appeared in films including Feed the Fish, Careless, Spy Kids, Galaxy Quest, Men in Black, Men in Black, II, and Big Night, and he provided the voice of Luigi for Cars. He has acted in Broadway productions of The Odd Couple, Conversations with My Father (for which he was nominated for a Tony Award), The Heidi Chronicles, and Lend Me a Tenor. He received a Grammy nomination for his narration of George Selden's Newbery Honor-winning children's book The Cricket in Times Square for Macmillan Audio.

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Read an Excerpt

A mouse was looking at Mario. The mouse’s name was Tucker, and he was sitting in the opening of an abandoned drain pipe in the subway station at Times Square. The drain pipe was his home. Back a few feet in the wall, it had opened out into a pocket that Tucker had filled with the bits of paper and shreds of cloth he collected. And when he wasn’t collecting, “scrounging” as he called it, or sleeping, he liked to sit at the opening of the drain pipe and watch the world go by–at least as much of the world as hurried through the Times Square subway station.

Tucker finished the last few crumbs of a cookie he was eating–a Lorna Doone shortbread he had found earlier in the evening–and licked off his whiskers. “ Such a pity,” he sighed.
Every Saturday night now for almost a year he had watched Mario tending his father’s newsstand. On weekdays, of course, the boy had to get to bed early, but over the weekends Papa Bellini let him take his part in helping out with the family business. Far into the night Mario waited. Papa hoped that by staying open as late as possible his newsstand might get some of the business that would otherwise have gone to the larger stands. But there wasn’t much business tonight.

“The poor kid might as well go home,” murmured Tucker Mouse to himself. He looked around the station.
The bustle of the day had long since subsided, and even the nighttime crowds, returning from the theaters and movies had vanished. Now and then a person or two would come down one of the many stairs that led from the street and dart through the station. But at this hour everyone was in a hurry to get to bed. On the lower level the trains were running much less often. There would be a long stretch of silence; then the mounting roar as a string of cars approached Times Square; then a pause while it let off old passengers and took on new ones; and finally the rush of sound as it disappeared up the dark tunnel. And the hush fell again. There was emptiness in the air. The whole station seemed to be waiting for the crowds of people it needed.

Tucker Mouse looked back at Mario. He was sitting on a three-legged stool behind the counter of the newsstand. In front of him all the magazines and newspapers were displayed as neatly as he knew how to make them. Papa Bellini had made the newsstand himself many years ago. The space inside was big enough for Mario, but Mama and Papa were cramped when they each took their turn. A shelf ran along one side, and on it were a little secondhand radio, a box of Kleenex (for Mama’s hay fever), a box of kitchen matches (for lighting Papa’s pipe), a cash register (for money — which there wasn’t much of), and an alarm clock (for no good reason at all). The cash register had one drawer, which was always open. It had gotten stuck once, with all the money the Bellinis had in the world inside it, so Papa decided it would be safer never to shut it again. When the stand was closed for the night, the money that was left there to start off the new day was perfectly safe, because Papa had also made a big wooden cover, with a lock, that fitted over the whole thing.

Mario had been listening to the radio. He switched it off. Way down the tracks he could see the lights of the shuttle train coming towards him. On the level of the station where the newsstand was, the only tracks were the ones on which the shuttle ran. That was a short train that went back and forth from Times Square to Grand Central, taking people from the subways on the east side of New York City over to the lines on the west. Mario knew most of the conductors on the shuttle. They all liked him and came over to talk between trips.

The train screeched to a stop beside the newsstand, blowing a gust of hot air in front of it. Only nine or ten people got out. Tucker watched anxiously to see if any of them stopped to buy a paper.

“All late papers!” shouted Mario as they hurried by. “Magazines!”

No one stopped. Hardly anyone even looked at him. Mario sank back on his stool. All evening long he had only sold fifteen papers and four magazines. In the drain pipe Tucker Mouse, who had been keeping count too, sighed and scratched his ear.

Mario’s friend Paul, a conductor on the shuttle, came over to the stand. “Any luck?” he asked.

“No,” said Mario. “Maybe on the next train.”

“There’s going to be less and less until morning,” said Paul.

Mario rested his chin on the palm of his hand. “ I can’t understand it,” he said. “It’s Saturday night. Even the Sunday papers aren’t going.”

Paul leaned up against the newsstand. “You’re up awfully late tonight,” he said.

“Well, I can sleep on Sundays,” said Mario. “ Besides, school’s out now. Mama and Papa are picking me up on the way home. They went to visit some friends. Saturday’s the only chance they have.”

Over a loud speaker came a voice saying, “Next train for Grand Central, track two.”

“ Night, Mario,” Paul said. He started off toward the shuttle. Then he stopped, reached in his pocket and flipped a half dollar over the counter. Mario caught the big coin. “I’ll take a Sunday Times.” Paul said, and picked up the newspaper.

“Hey wait!” Mario called after him. “ It’s only twenty-five cents. You’ve got a quarter coming.”

But Paul was already in the car. The door slid closed. He smiled and waved through the window. With a lurch the train moved off, its lights glimmering away through the darkness.

Tucker Mouse smiled too. He liked Paul. In fact he liked anybody who was nice to Mario. But it was late now: time to crawl back to his comfortable niche in the wall and go to sleep. Even a mouse who lives in the subway station in Times Square has to sleep sometimes. And Tucker had a big day planned for tomorrow, collecting things for his home and snapping up bits of food that fell from the lunch counters all over the station. He was just about to turn into the drain pipe when he heard a very strange sound.

Now Tucker Mouse had heard almost all the sounds that can be heard in New York City. He had heard the rumble of subway trains and the shriek their iron wheels make when they go around a corner. From above, through the iron grills that open onto the streets, he had heard the thrumming of the rubber tires of automobiles, and the hooting of their horns, and the howling of their brakes. And he had heard the babble of voices when the station was full of human beings, and the barking of the dogs that some of them had on leashes. Birds, the pigeons of New York, and cats, and even the high purring of airplanes above the city Tucker had heard. But in all his days, and on all his journeys through the greatest city in the world, Tucker had never heard a sound quite like this one.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Reading Group Guide

What makes a book last for fifty years? This is one of the topics we offer for discussion with your students. You’ll know the answer to that question—as far as The Cricket in Times Square is concerned—by the time you’ve read the first chapter. This classic work of children’s literature touches on universal themes of friendship, loyalty, honesty, and home; its fantasy is not tied to technology, but to imagination; the characters are as knowable today as they were when the book was first published and as they will be years from now; and the beautiful writing is timeless.

Whether you use the novel with your full class, with groups, or with individual students, we’ve provided this guide to offer ways of connecting to various curriculum areas and to meet language arts standards. You’ll find literature, writing, reading comprehension, theater, music, art, science, and social studies activities. Most of all, you’ll find a rich and lasting experience to share with your students.

This guide was prepared by Clifford Wohl, Educational Consultant

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome Book

    I ? this book. This book was hilarius in some parts and I really like the idea of having animals interact with each other. It's a really great book, especially 4 4th grders. Have fun reading!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

    THE CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE is a classic children's story. Written in the 1960's and the winner of a Newbery Honor Book award, THE CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE has wonderful staying power. Now, courtesy of Macmillan Young Listeners, the tale truly comes to life.

    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. And for those that know the sweet tale of Chester finding himself in a foreign land (at least for him), listening to the story will be a treat. No one will be disappointed!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2004

    The Cricket in Times Square Review

    When I read this book it was amazing with the humorous Tucker, musician Chester and soft-hearted Harry. This book is a book of three talented friends who try to get their country cricket back to his home. This book is awesome! (Every book I've read has an animal in it. At least every chapter book.)

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2000

    Cricket In Times Square

    The book Cricket In Times Square is truly a young readers masterpiece. The book takes place in New Yok City wher anything can happen. The story startswith a poor newstand family trying to make ends meet. The only child a son named Mario is selling newspapers late one Saturday when he hears a noise. The noise he hears turns out to be a cricket. Mario turns the cricket into his pet. During the day this cricket acts normal, but when the family leaves the cricket whose name turns out to be Chester meets two friends Tucker mouse, and Harry cat. Together this trio meet at night. Everything goes nice for Chester until strange acidents start to happen because of him. Chester starts to feel as if he is bad luck to Mario, and his family. Chester though figures out how he can save the bankrupt family. Chester also meets more facinating characters along the way.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2013

    Good book

    My students read this classic novel in class for a reading assignment.
    I purchased this in audio format to train my students to hear, to grasp reading comprehension in a different form.
    Students really enjoyed reading this book. There are many life lessons that will help motivate the hidden talent within.
    Also, how true friendship allows one to stick together, even in mistakes...... work out any problem to create a stronger bond in friendship.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2001

    WHAT A BOOK!!

    When I read this book I thought it was great.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2014

    Awsome

    Amazing book! I highly recommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I am a 6th Grade Student in Glendale, AZ.

    The book that I read ''The Cricket in Times Square'' has lots of characters such as the protagonists- Chester the cricket, Tucker the mouse, and Harry the cat. But, some of the minor characters are interesting too. Like, Mario the boy that found Chester, and Mario's parents. Now I will tell you more about these characters. First off Chester the cricket first lived in Connecticut. He traveled from Connecticut to New York City in a picnic basket! Now, Tucker the Broadway mouse lives in New York City in a pipe. He meets Chester after Mario puts him in their newsstand they own. Tucker's pal Harry the cat met Chester the same night as Tucker of course because he and Tucker are best pals. Along with Mario {The young boy who found Chester in a pile of dirt and dust on the floor outside} who found Chester and put him in a match box where he slept in the newsstand. Last but not least with the characters, Mario's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bellini. At first they would not let Mario keep Chester but, finally they did. Only if he kept him outside in the newsstand, which he did. This might seem good to you but, this is bad. The bad ''thing'' is that Chester has a talent of music when he chirps. He can chirp to any music that he hears. So, every night and day people surround him. {He becomes famous}. When this famous idea comes up Chester feels like he needs to have a break from fame and fortune. So, instead he goes back to Connecticut. He says his goodbyes and tries to have the best night he can have. Finally, he's off and gone. This story doesn't have its time but, I do know where it takes place. A microscopic part of this story takes place in Connecticut. But, most of the story takes place in the one and only New York City. The books theme of this story is about you might have every thing you want doesn't mean it's better than what you had before. It also means being home is the best place to be in your life. I liked this story very much it had great details and didn't get dry as much as other books do. I would have to say 1-5 stars I would give it 4 stars because it had great details but sometimes it got a little dry. This story ''The Cricket in Times Square'' related to my life because one time I had all these new, ''cool'' friends and I thought they were better than my old friends. But, I got tired and bored with my new friends so I told my old friends that I was sorry and became friends again. This book reminds me of a phrase that I've heard before. '' It may look better from your view but once you get there it's worth nothing.'' A book that is related to this book is The Notebook because a young girl leaves her true love and moves on but realizes that the other man she left was the better one. I recommend if you have free time to read The Cricket in Times Square.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    Opposites attract

    If a cat, a mouse and a cricket can get along, any group of kids can too. This book expresses that very thing and it's a wonderful book that all should read.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    Cricket

    This is a great book I highly reccomd it. It is a story about a cricket that came from conneticut and is now i n new york. He is caught by a boy named mario and he befrendes a mouse named tucker and a cat named Harry. Together the friends will go through many adventures.
    By.......,.............Bella


    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2014

    This is a very good book because it is very adventurous and inte

    This is a very good book because it is very adventurous and interesting.  I like the story Chester tells about getting to Times Square. Another interesting story is when Chester is having a dinner party and the news stand catches on fire.  I like most of the characters because they are nice.  My favorite characters are Mario, Chester and Harry Cat.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2014

    Good

    I love this book. I read it at

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    W WHOA

    the book was probly the best i have ever read. Itwas the most fantastic book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    My son read a chapter during onw of his reading classes and fell

    My son read a chapter during onw of his reading classes and fell in love with just one chapter. We bought the book and he read it so quickly and loved it that he read it twice. This book is well written and catches the attention of it audience and allows the reader to utilize his imagination to appreciate the characters and the story more. I highly recommend this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2012

    This book is really nice. Loved it when I read it in school.

    This book is really nice. Loved it when I read it in school.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2011

    Wonderful book

    I had heard about it from another family; it was a favorite of theirs but I think there must be an audio version because they mentioned the cricket played "Meditation" from Thais by Massenet.

    I also ordered "Big Nate on a Roll" thinking it would appeal to a nephew, but since I ordered online and never got a really good feel for the book, I discovered it was not appropriate and I was personally disappointed with it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an awesome book!

    I love reading this book and I have already read it twice! You can read it 100 times and it still won't get old!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    Cute Story!

    Our son really enjoyed the challenge of reading this book. He also liked the characters and story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2008

    Great Read!

    This book was beyond excellent. I loved how the characters were very lively and exciting. This book is recommended to people who like to read!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2007

    Most fun I ever had!

    This book was one of my favorites growing up! I reccomend it to any parent that is trying to get their child interested in reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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