Kirkus Star


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Selden's Times Square cricket, who moved to Tucker's Countryside back in 1969, is happy by his brookside stump until--as this opens--a foreboding is followed by disaster: two fat ladies sit on the stump, which collapses; the ladies take a spill into the brook; and Chester is homeless. Simon Turtle offers him a temporary home in a crack in Simon's log, which proves an uncomfortably tight fit; there, however, he forms a friendly trio with Simon and the watersnake Walter, a ""zany"" creature who teaches Chester the meaning of the term snake eyes, ""[Simon and I] are both reptiles, you know,"" Walter explains later, ""although I'm more 'rep' and he's more 'tile,' as you can see from his beautiful slate back."" It is through Chester's reports to the two reptiles that we hear of the other creatures' well-meaning attempts to find Chester a new home. John and Dorothy Robin surprise him with a fixed-up squirrel's nest and a housewarming attended (or invaded) by so many birds that Chester must flee. He is taken in by fastidious Henry and Emily Chipmunk (they trim their lawn with their teeth and polish their path-stones)--but ""I didn't dare turn around for fear of knocking down pussy willows,"" which are part of their fussy decor. Pretentious Beatrice and Jerome Pheasant, with their album of family feathers, will give him quarters in exchange for service: he must chime off the hours round the clock, day and night. After a sleepless night at each of these shelters--and a day off to play in the sun; a melancholy night when he makes touching contact with reclusive, ""titched"" Donald Dragonfly--Chester discovers what Simon and Walter have been up to all along: gnawing out and comfortably furnishing a just-right hole, with the sky above and the brook below, at the other end of Simon's log. As in Harry Cat's Pet Puppy, about Chester's friends back in the city, Selden combines a trusty theme with amusing, fun-poking characterization, and a charming old-fashioned simplicity with disarming wit.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1983
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux