TUCKER'S COUNTRYSIDE by George Selden

TUCKER'S COUNTRYSIDE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When last seen The Cricket in Times Square was headed for rural Connecticut; now, his pasture ringed by houses that are closing in, he's sent for subway station chums Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat to mastermind a reprieve. Tucker particularly has a reputation for resourcefulness but he draws a blank; also a spell of rainy weather that confines him to Chester Cricket's stump the first week, then, after a narrow escape from rising waters (via a bough bent low by the birds), to John Robin's nest the second. It's ""no life for a mouse from New York"" and what makes it worse is that traitorous Harry; the former terror of Forty-Second Street, is having his tummy rubbed--and filled--regularly in Ellen Hadley's house. Which has its advantages, however, in tidbits from the kitchen for Tucker and access to the Hadleys' attic--a prime place for scrounging around, Tucker's specialty, and the site of a forgotten sign spelling their name. When Bertha Steam Shovel starts levelling the pasture--despite the picketing of Ellen and the little kids--the sign plus another lucky find gives Tucker his great idea: to fool the humans into thinking a ruined cellar the remains of town pioneer Joseph Hedley's homestead, the pasture his original farm. Overnight they bury the debris that looks recent and arrange the props: the Hadleys' sign with the letter ""a"" chewed off, apparent owner Joseph Henry's family Bible similarly altered. The ""historic moment"" is ready for the townspeople--decoyed by Harry--to find the next day. With the pasture saved and winter coming, it's time for Tucker and Harry to start home--after persuading Henry Chipmunk to take Harry's place as Ellen's pet. Some sentimentality (and the shadow of Rabbit Hill) aside, there's enough gusto--especially in Tucker's reactions to rural life and to Harry's defection--to make this a not unworthy successor to Cricket if not its equal.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1969
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux