Chester is a cricket from the woods of Connecticut, but his whole life changes one day when he stows away in a picnic basket and ends up in New York City! Although the city is a new environment for him, he finds a home at the Bellini family’s newsstand in the Times Square subway station. With the help of two new friends, a cat and a mouse, Chester discovers a hidden talent for chirping out different pieces of music. He starts with memorizing simple church hymns, but quickly moves on to intricate symphonies so beautiful that their sound can literally stop rush hour traffic!
One thing I loved about this book was its awesome sense of place. The descriptions make it easy to see New York City as the busy, bustling town that it is, where people never seem to stop moving! I was so impressed by the way that young Mario Bellini was allowed to ride the subway by himself whenever he wasn’t working, even all the way across Manhattan into Chinatown. That type of freedom is almost impossible for kids today to imagine!
I finally got to visit New York City a few years ago and let me tell you, it was everything that the book described! Times Square was lit up all night long, and thousands of people were coming there just to look at the advertisements! When I was walking around the city that never sleeps, it was hilarious to think about one tiny cricket bringing all those people to a halt! If you’re looking for a classic story that will stop you in your tracks as well, be sure to check out “A Cricket in Times Square”!