Genre: middle grade talking animal fiction
Length: 176 pages
Setting: Times Square, NYC, late 1950s (present day for when the book was written)
Interest: I’ve heard it was a good read aloud, so it was our bedtime story for a while.
Summary: A cricket, Chester, is accidentally transported from his field in Connecticut to Times Square. There, he is befriended by Tucker the mouse and Harry the cat. His is also adopted by Mario, whose family runs a newsstand at the Times Square subway station. The business is not prospering, and Mario’s mother isn’t too sure about a cricket as a pet. Eventually, Chester learns he can chirp any song he hears and he starts to give concerts at the newsstand. Even with his new friends and musical performances, Chester misses home.
Final thoughts: A sweet little book. It’s perfect for the child who can’t handle stressful situations in a story, because nothing too exciting really happens. We get the day-to-day interactions of Chester and his friends Tucker and Harry at night and Mario during the day. The most exciting we get is a fire at the newsstand and a trip to Sai Fong to get a cricket cage. We do see how hard Mario and his family work with minimal money coming in. Chester’s arrival does ultimately help the Bellini’s. We also see how Tucker and Harry helped Chester adapt to his new surroundings just by being friendly.
Title comes from: The main character was Chester, the cricket, who accidentally ended up in the Times Square subway station, so the title reflects the plot of the book.
Reading challenges fulfilled: #53 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge
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