Category Archives: Chapter Books

A Cricket in Times Square

Written by George Selden.  Illustrated by Garth Williams.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1960.  132 pages.  Tr. $17.00.  ISBN 10:  0-374-31650-3/ISBN 13:  978-0-374-31650-1.

While tending his family’s newspaper stand in the Times Square subway station, a young boy named Mario hears an unusual sound—the chirping of a cricket!  Mario rescues the cricket from a dirty corner of the station, elated to have a pet at last.  The cricket quickly becomes a fixture at the newspaper stand, though Mario and his parents disagree over whether it is lucky or not.  Meanwhile, the cricket—whose name is Chester—befriends Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat, who also live in the station.  As Chester adapts to his new life, far from his country home, his talent for music is revealed and suddenly throngs of people are marveling at the rarity of a cricket in Times Square.

Enhanced with drawings by Garth Williams, this charming story will leave a lasting impression on readers of all ages.  A perfect read-aloud for younger children eager for more complex stories and a good selection for confident readers ready for chapter books.

Other Information:

Other in-print formats available for this title:

  • Selden, G.  (2008). The cricket in Times Square [unabridged CD].  New York: Macmillan Audio.

Awards won by this item

Author biographies

Illustrator biography

Subjects/themes that could be used in programming

  • New York
  • Subway
  • Friendship
  • Home

Series Information:  The original story spawned sequels and a prequel featuring Chester Cricket and his friends:  Tucker’s Countryside, Chester Cricket’s New Home, Chester Cricket’s Pigeon Ride, The Old Meadow, and Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse.

Programming Ideas and/or lesson plans


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Filed under Chapter Books, Middle Grade Books

The Junior Novelization

I am a fan of the junior novelization, at least of two Pixar movies.  These provided my four-year-old with an introduction to chapter books, and vastly improved bedtime stories at our house.  I recommend trying something like this to preK-K parents who need to take reading aloud to the next level. 

Several months ago, my husband gave our four-year-old daughter the movie Up, along with the junior novelization.   We watched the movie together for a family movie night, and afterward, my husband began reading the junior novel to her, one chapter at a time.  Most of the dialogue is exactly the same, and my daughter’s vocabulary has grown from listening to descriptions of actions she has observed.

It was a spectacular success.  Our daughter enjoyed acting out scenes she remembered from the film, and we enjoyed a break from the monotony of reading her favorite picture books night after night (we still read picture books daily, just not at bedtime).

Once we finished Up, we decided to continue our experiment with the junior novelization of Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, the movie of which our daughter has already seen.  Another hit!

While we were still reading Tinker Bell, my daughter found my copy of The Wonderful Wizard of OZ on the bookshelf and requested that we read it after we finished Tinker Bell.  Over this past weekend we finished OZ, and our next family movie night will be the Judy Garland film (though I wish this new version was already available as well).

Now we’re moving on to Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl.  I’ll let you know how it goes.    

Later this week:  A booklist for young cat lovers.

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Filed under Chapter Books, Reading Aloud