The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden was published in 1960 and won a Newbery Honor. I read this story often when I was in grade school, but I haven't read it since then and wanted to revisit it to see if I still found it as delightful as I once did.
This is the story of a poor family who owns a newspaper and magazine stand. The mother, father, and son all work here. One day the son finds a cricket and wants to keep him for a pet. His mother is against this idea as she doesn't like bugs, but he is allowed to keep the cricket.
This is where the magic comes in. The cricket, Chester, makes friends with a mouse and a cat and shares his story with them. Chester is a cricket with a strong sense of what is right and wrong. When he walks in his sleep and chews up a two dollar bill, he feels guilty and wants to make it up to the family. Tucker, the mouse, tries to convince him to blame someone else, but Chester refuses. He wants to do something to help the family.
This story is sweet, magical, teaches good values without being didactic, and leaves the reader feeling happy. I listened to the audio version and the narrator was wonderful. Garth Williams is the illustrator for the print version, and his artwork adds to the story. This books makes a fun read aloud.
Read an old favorite to a child today even if that child is you.