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The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket Series)

The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket Series)

4.3 64
by George Selden

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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


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.

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.” —Starred, School Library Journal

Product Details

Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Chester Cricket and His Friends Series
Edition description:
Unabridged, 2 cassettes, 2 hrs.
Product dimensions:
4.32(w) x 6.96(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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.

Meet the Author

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 a Fulbright Scholarship.

People often asked Selden how he got the idea for The Cricket in Times Square. "One night I was coming home on the subway, and I did hear a cricket chirp in the Times Square subway station. The story formed in my mind within minutes. An author is very thankful for minutes like those, although they happen all too infrequently." The popular Cricket series grew to seven titles, including Tucker's Countryside and The Old Meadow. In 1973, The Cricket in Times Square was made into an animated film. Selden wrote more than fifteen books, as well as two plays. His storytelling blends the marvelous with the commonplace realities of life, and it was essential to him that his animal characters display true emotions and feelings.

Selden lived in New York City until his death in December 1989. He enjoyed music, archaeology, and J.R.R. Tolkien. His editor, Stephen Roxburgh, said, "Chester Cricket, Harry Cat, Tucker Mouse, and their friends celebrate the triumph of innocence and camaraderie over cynicism and selfishness. George Selden is gone, but his voice lives on in Chester Cricket's song."

Garth Williams (1912-1996) illustrated all seven of the Chester Cricket books and many other distinguished works, including Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket Series) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
xonikkibabiox More than 1 year ago
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!
Dett-29 More than 1 year ago
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.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to choose a novel I had never read for a school project, and my choices were Holes, War Horse, The Tale of Desperaux, The Wipping Boy, Hatchet, and this book. It was way better than I had expected. I had already read the first three books on the list, and my friends said The Wipping Boy was confusing, and some said Hatchet was boring, so I guess I made a good choice. A must-read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delightful reading! Recommend it! Get it now! Great fifteen capter book! Won't regret it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always wanted to go to New York and this story tells me all about it.Thank you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books as a kid. So much so, I selected a scene from the story to create (with mucho help from Mom 'cuz you never reveal an assignment is due until last minute) a diorama for a class project.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book! I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the book was probly the best i have ever read. Itwas the most fantastic book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I read this book I thought it was great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If yiu like animlas or animal books you should read the kittty corner books and the puppy place books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 3rd grade and loved it. It is a great book to read and I deeply recommened people to read this book. I would read this book all the time if I could.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It sounds funny
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this for my little boy to have a few audio books for home. He has really enjoyed this--we first heard this when we checked it out from our local library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it is a very cool way to see the animals point of view
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading @ school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elise1 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I read it at