The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden is one of my favorite books of all time. The book was originally published in 1961 but I didn’t read it until I was an adult (well after 1961). At the time that I discovered the book, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was reaching its zenith in holding an entire generation captive to her imagination and I applied her popularity judiciously in getting the kids that I tutored to fall in love with reading. Then, I stumbled upon Selden’s finest tale in the home of one of my students while I was waiting for him to get out of the bathroom. I was hooked. I then tucked the little book away in my backpack, cancelled the day’s session (to the utter joy of the student and complete consternation of his mother), went home and read the book in one sitting. There are few moments in life when one can be sure of such an elusive thing as love and this was one of those precious moments for me. Of all the books that I’ve ever read in my entire life, The Cricket in Times Square sits firmly in my top ten.
Amazon.com sums up the book in this way: “Tucker is a streetwise city mouse. He thought he’d seen it all. But he’s never met a cricket before, which really isn’t surprising, because, along with his friend Harry Cat, Tucker lives in the very heart of New York City—the Times Square subway station. Chester Cricket never intended to leave his Connecticut meadow. He’d be there still if he hadn’t followed the entrancing aroma of liverwurst right into someone’s picnic basket. Now, like any tourist in the city, he wants to look around. And he could not have found two better guides—and friends—than Tucker and Harry. The trio have many adventures—from taking in the sights and sounds of Broadway to escaping a smoky fire.
Chester makes a third friend, too. It is a boy, Mario, who rescues Chester from a dusty corner of the subway station and brings him to live in the safety of his parents’ newsstand. He hopes at first to keep Chester as a pet, but Mario soon understands that the cricket is more than that. Because Chester has a hidden talent and no one—not even Chester himself—realizes that the little country cricket may just be able to teach even the toughest New Yorkers a thing or two.”
Posted by Paul Yim