June 22, 2007

Review:The Cricket in Times Square

The Cricket in Times Square

by George Selden

My family is really getting into books on tape/CD right now. After Coraline we were looking for something new to listen to. I searched the library shelves and found this Newbery Honor book that I recognised as one I've wanted to read for a while but never gotten around to, So we checked it out.

This is the story of Chester the cricket, Tucker the mouse, Harry the cat, and the Bellini family who own a newspaper stand in the subway station in Times Square. Mario Bellini finds a frightened and starving cricket near the newsstand one Saturday night and decides to keep it as a pet. The cricket befriends a mouse and a cat(they are the best of friends). Some bad things happen and some good things happen as the cricket adjusts to life in New York.

This story reminded me a bit of Charlotte's Web; not that the story lines are anything alike but the pace and the overall feel of them are so similar. Each character has a distinctive personality but I loved them all. Mr. Selden portrayed New Yorkers as interesting, sensitive, tender-hearted and diverse but connected with each other. The ending, while melancholy, is just right.

Because we listened to this on CD I missed out on all the great pictures drawn by Garth Williams, the same illustrator for the Little House books and Charlotte's Web. Having flipped through them afterward, they go perfectly with the pictures in my mind's eye. He did a great job.

I can understand why this won a Newbery Honor Award in 1961. Island of the Blue Dolphins took the prize for that year. I'm curious to know how it stands up to The Cricket in Times Square. I'll be adding it to the TBR pile and let you know.


monica - books are our friends said...

oh, i loved this book as a child! and i loved Blue Dolphins too.

Carrie said...

I"m rather ashamed to say I've never read this before! It seems as if everyone I know read this as a child. Somehow I missed it! One of these days . . .

Petunia said...

monica-I'd never even heard of the Blue Dorphins book until a year or so ago. I know nothing about it. I look forward to reading it.

carrie-this was my first time reading it myself. It is a comfort read. Definitely give it a try.

sarala said...

I loved this as a kid. I had forgotten about it until I saw it here. Fun stuff.