A children's author who is perhaps best known for writing The Cricket in Times Square
along with its various sequels
. George Selden was from Hartford, Connecticut
, where he was born in the early part of the twentieth century
. Given this, it is perhaps unsurprising that he attended Yale University
before studying at Columbia University in New York City
as well as abroad on a Fulbright Scholarship
According to interviews, the idea for The Cricket in Times Square came to him as he passed through Times Square Station on the New York Subway, and chanced to hear the chirp of a solitary (and no doubt quite lost) cricket. The story sprang almost full-blown into his mind, and shortly thereafter was charming children (and their parents) throughout the U.S.
Educational Paperbacks (edupaperback.org) writes of him:
Mr. Selden lived in New York City until his death in December 1989. He enjoyed music, archaeology, and J.R.R. Tolkien. His editor, Stephen Roxburgh, said, “Chester Cricket, Harry Cat, Tucker Mouse, and their friends celebrate the triumph of innocence and camaraderie over cynicism and selfishness. George Selden is gone, but his voice lives on in Chester Cricket’s song.”
I can testify personally to the magic of his books. One of my earliest memories of learning to read has my father and I poring over A Cricket in Times Square, making the connections between my then-perfect memories of the story from my parents' readings, and the then-new words on the page.
For those of you who wonder, the drainpipe in which Tucker Mouse lived was a real one. Although it is gone now, lost to progress and reconstruction, it did indeed grace the long curving wall at the side of the Grand Central Shuttle station at the Times Square end, and across the platform was (until recently) a large discolored square which demarcated the spot on which the Nedick's Lunch Counter (also a prominent feature of the book) used to stand.