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The Cricket in Times Square
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere ... . And Chester Cricket does! The displaced country creature adapts to life in the Big Apple and becomes a success. He shows the universal struggles of immigrants in this delightful story, and Garth Williams's full-page, black-and-white illustrations help bring the tale to life.
Is it any good?
George Selden creates an incredibly detailed and compelling animal world (with distinctive animal personalities) within the familiar human world. Small and insignificant, Chester the cricket almost always knows his own mind and, more important, his self-worth. Selden effectively contrasts Chester's slight stature against the size and swirl of New York City and spins the tried-and-true tale of the outsider who confronts the big city. Almost half a century old, THE CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE may inhabit a kinder, gentler Manhattan, but Selden still captures the city's essence. Kids encounter abundant urban attractions: unusual foods, colorful characters, busy street scenes, stimulating shops.
The target reader readily identifies with Mario, who seems about 10 years old. One of the story's best features is Mario's freedom within the city; all alone, he staffs the newsstand late at night and rides the subway to shop in an unfamiliar district. If this seems strange to kids, they'll also find it empowering. Garth Williams' excellent drawings -- bold in line, rich in detail, and one or two to a chapter -- bring added warmth to the incidents and individuals.