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One night, the sounds of New York City--the rumbling of subway trains, thrumming of automobile tires, hooting of horns,
howling of brakes, and the babbling of voices--is interrupted by a sound that even Tucker Mouse, a jaded inhabitant of
Times Square, has never heard before. Mario, the son of Mama and Papa Bellini, proprietors of the subway-station
newsstand, had only heard the sound once. What was this new, strangely musical chirping? None other than the mellifluous
leg-rubbing of the somewhat disoriented Chester Cricket from Connecticut. Attracted by the irresistible smell of
liverwurst, Chester had foolishly jumped into the picnic basket of some unsuspecting New Yorkers on a junket to the
country. Despite the insect's wurst intentions, he ends up in a pile of dirt in Times Square.
Mario is elated to find Chester. He begs his parents to let him keep the shiny insect in the newsstand, assuring his
bug-fearing mother that crickets are harmless, maybe even good luck. What ensues is an altogether captivating spin on
the city mouse/country mouse story, as Chester adjusts to the bustle of the big city. Despite the cricket's comfortable
matchbox bed (with Kleenex sheets); the fancy, seven-tiered pagoda cricket cage from Sai Fong's novelty shop; tasty
mulberry leaves; the jolly company of Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat; and even his new-found fame as "the most famous
musician in New York City," Chester begins to miss his peaceful life in the Connecticut countryside. The Cricket in
Times Square--a Newbery Award runner-up in 1961--is charmingly illustrated by the well-loved Garth Williams, and the
tiniest details of this elegantly spun, vividly told, surprisingly suspenseful tale will stick with children for years
and years. Make sure this classic sits on the shelf of your favorite child, right next to The Wind in the Willows. (Ages
9 to 12)