We are very excited to announce the title for this year's Rowayton Rocks Reading program: The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden. This book is about a Cricket named Chester from Connecticut who accidentally ends up in New York City, specifically the Times Square Subway station, where he meets Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat and they have many adventures together.  The teachers at Rowayton Elementary selected this book because it is appropriate for all age levels, as well as being a treasured classic.  We hope you will read aloud as a family, or play the audio recordings to enjoy together. 

There are many optional at-home activities related to each week's reading of The Cricket in Times Square.  For each completed activity that your child brings in, they will receive a raffle ticket for prizes given away at the celebration dinner on May 19th.  The more activities they complete, the better their chance of winning a prize!


All activities are due by May 17th to your child's classroom teacher.  Be creative and have fun with these!

Rowayton School...Get Ready to Read!


Click the play button (     ) and turn up the volume to enjoy these audio recordings with your family. Can you guess who's reading each chapter?  Hint: It's a member of the Rowayton School faculty!

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Chapter 2 -
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Chapter 3 -
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Chapter 4 -
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Chapter 5 -
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Chapter 7 -
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Chapter 9 -
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Chapter 12 -
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Chapter 8 -
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Chapter 11 -
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Chapter 11 -
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Chapter 13 -
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Chapter 14 -
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Chapter 15 -
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The following are optional at-home activities related to each week's reading of The Cricket in Times Square.  For each completed activity that your child brings in, they will receive a raffle ticket for prizes given away at the celebration dinner on May 19th.  The more activities they complete, the better their chance of winning a prize!


All activities are due by May 17th to your child's classroom teacher.  Be creative and have fun with these! 


After the completion of each chapter, you may want to discuss with your child some of the questions below.


Chapter 1

  • Tucker Mouse describes some of the sounds and sights in the Times Square subway station. Have you been to NYC or Times Square? What are some of the sights, smells and sounds you have seen there? How are these sights, sounds and smells different from what you have seen in Norwalk?

  • Mario is working alone in the paper stand, tending to his family’s business. Is this something you’d like to do?

  • What is a late paper? Is there a need for a late paper in the 21st century? How do we get information today?

  • When the conductor gave Mario a half dollar for the paper, do you think he forgot to get his change? Why or why not?

  • What sound do you think Tucker heard at the end of chapter 1?


Chapter 2

How do Mario’s mother and father react to the cricket? Do you agree with Mario’s mother’s objections?

Mario’s parents finally agree to let him keep the cricket he found in the subway station. Is there a pet you’d like to keep? Do you think his parents made the right decision?

How do you think the cricket go into the subway station?


Chapter 3

  • How did Chester Cricket get to Times Square?

  • Chester Cricket has never been to NYC before. How do you think it is different from the meadow in Connecticut that he lived in?

  • What do you think the cat is going to do to Chester and Tucker?


Chapter 4

  • What was Chester afraid Harry was going to do to Tucker?

  • The three animals discussed what a cricket sounded like with different phrases. Have you ever heard a cricket? How would you describe it.

  • Why do you think Chester is leery of venturing out into New York City? Would you be leery?

  • When Chester ventures to Times Square, he thought it was “too terrible and beautiful”. Why do you think he used two different words to describe Times Square? Have you ever been anywhere they you thought was both terrible and beautiful?

  • How do you think Times Square has changed since this book was written?

  • Do you think Chester should stay in NYC and explore or should he get tack the train back to his meadow in Connecticut? What would you do?


Chapter 5

  • How is the food different in the meadow from NYC? What does Chester think of NYC food?

  • What does Mario and his family like to do on Saturday afternoon? What do you like to do with your family on Saturdays?


Chapter 6

  • Sai Fong is an immigrant who has come from China many years ago. What are some obstacles immigrants face when they come to new countries?

  • What does Mario buy from Sai Fong? Do you think this is a good home for Chester? What would you put Chester in?


Chapter 7

  • Tucker Mouse says, “Chinese make funny dishes.” Just because Tucker hasn’t had the food, does that make it is “funny”?

  • Can you think of a food you thought might not like, but you were pleasantly surprised when you actually tried it?


Chapter 8

  • What was Chester’s dream about? What did he do in real life during his dream?

  • Tucker wants to frame the janitor for stealing the two dollar bill. What do you think of this idea?

  • What do Mario’s parents want to do with Chester for taking the $2 bill? What does Mario have to do to replace the $2? Do you think this is fair? Why or why not?

  • How does Chester feel about being in a cage all day? Why does he decide to “serve out the time” in the cage?

  • How did Tucker get his own money? How much does he have? What does he do with it? Do you think that was the right decision?

  • How do you think Mario and his mother felt when they saw the money in Chester’s cage?

  • The narrator states, “Mother felt the same way about money that Tucker Mouse did. When you had it, you had it- and you didn’t bother too much about where it came from.”

  • Do you agree or disagree with mother’s opinion about money? Why or why not?


Chapter 9

  • Why did Mario bring Chester back to Sai Fong’s shop?

  • What Chinese traditions did Mario observe during his dinner with Sai Fong? What type of food did Mario enjoy? Can you think of traditions you own family has that other people may not be familiar with?

  • How do you think this dinner was different than dinners he has with his parents at home?

  • What do crickets like to eat? How does Mario learn this?


Chapter 10

  • Why did the animals decide to have a party? What were they celebrating?

  • What was Tucker Mouse proud of getting for the party? How did he get it?

  • During the party, what do Tucker Mouse and Harry insist Chester do?

  • While Tucker Mouse is dancing, what happens? How did it start? Who helps save the newsstand?


Chapter 11

  • After the fire, why did Chester go back to the newsstand?

  • How does Mama Bellini react when she discovered the animals were in the newsstand? What does she specifically call the cricket? Why?

  • Why does Chester feel like he has “been nothing but bad luck to them (Bellinis) since I came”?

  • What does Chester do that makes Mama Bellini change her mind about him?

  • What do Chester’s songs remind Mama Bellini of ? Why do you think Chester’s songs were able to change her mood and feelings about Chester? Do songs change your mood?


Chapter 12

Why does Tucker Mouse want Chester to continue learning human songs? How does he want to benefit from Chester’s talent?

How does Mr. Smedley react when he learns Chester can play hymns? What does Mr. Smedley discover about the cricket?

Why does Mr. Smedley write to the New York Times? Do you think he should have shared Chester’s talent with the newspaper?


Chapter 13

  • What happens after Mr. Smedley’s letter is published?

  • How do the New York crowds react to Chester?

  • How did Chester’s concerts affect business?

  • Although Chester has become famous in New York City, he is not really happy. He said “Life didn’t seem to have the fun and freedom it had had before” How did fame change Chester’s life?

  • Do you think becoming famous would be a good thing or bad?


Chapter 14  

  • Chester decides to go back home to Connecticut. Do you think he makes the right decision? Would you have stayed in NYC or returned back to Connecticut?


Chapter 15

  • How do you think Mario felt when he discovered that Chester was gone? How would you feel?

  • How do you think Chester changed the Bellini’s life? Do you think Mario will remember Chester?

  • Do you think Harry and Tucker will ever see Chester again?

Some Information About Orpheus

Orpheus was a musician, poet and prophet in Greek mythology. His parents were the king of Thrace Oeagrus and the muse Calliope. He was considered the best musician and poet of all, and he perfected the lyre. It was the god Apollo who taught Orpheus how to play the lyre when he was an adolescent. According to a source, his music had the ability to charm the animals and make the trees dance.


Check out some of the photos from our Rowayton Rocks Reading Kick-off event, plus some families enjoying reading the book together. Just click on any photo to enlarge and start the slide show. Do you have a photo that you would like to submit? Please email your favorite photo reading about Chester and his friends to our webmaster, Sue Blair, and she will post on this page.

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Introducing "Rowayton Rocks Reading"

En Espanol

On April 26th, our school will be embarking on a special project, an all-school book club called Rowayton Rocks Reading. Every student will receive a copy of the same book and families will be asked to read it together at home over the next few weeks. We are personally asking you to make the time so that your family can participate in this special activity.

Reading aloud at home is valuable because it better prepares your child to be an effective reader, and it is also a fun, worthwhile family activity. With this program, we aim to build a Community of Readers at our school. Everyone – students, parents, teachers, staff and even administrators will all be following along together.

Your child will receive a copy of the book at a special school-wide assembly on April 26 th introducing the program and the book. Along with the book, you will receive a reading calendar so that you can keep up at home. Generally, you will be asked to read about 15 minutes each night.

In school, your child will be invited to answer daily trivia questions to encourage and reward attentive listening. You will soon find that your child will take pride in knowing and anticipating the details of the story. In class, students will explore the book through activities and discussion. You will want to make sure your family keeps up so that your child can be included. Throughout the month, everyone will be talking about the book!

Rowayton Rocks Reading is a novel program in that children of all grade levels will all be listening to their parents read same book. Strange or daring as that may seem, it actually makes sound educational sense. Reading professionals recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child's own reading level. We also believe that you can and should continue reading chapter books with your older children, even when they are able to read by themselves. We have selected a title that can be followed and understood and enjoyed by younger students, but will still captivate and stimulate older children.

We know that you’ll enjoy this special reading time with your children. With your help, we can build a Community of Readers at our school. Happy Reading!

The Rowayton School PTA & the Rowayton Literacy Committee