Our Family Dinner Book Club selection for the month of September is The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden. Here you’ll find a menu that can be prepared with the help of your children, and will hopefully be a fun and interactive activity for the whole family. Head over to Growing Book by Book for some talking points to get the conversation started. We invite you to share a picture from your dinner with us anytime during the month on our Family Dinner Book Club Facebook page.
One of the things that I loved about this book was all the food! No surprise there, right? Chester Cricket gets stuck under roast beef sandwiches on his way to New York City in the picnic basket. Not the best introduction to a new food, I’ll admit. Then he meets Harry and Tucker, a cat and mouse who are best friends, and they teach Chester all about scrounging for the best food New York has to offer. They even have a dinner party made up of all the different foods they can find. Everything from liverwurst (Chester’s favorite) to an Oh Henry candy bar. Chester is adopted by Mario Bellini, an Italian boy, so certainly he is introduced to the magnificence of pasta and pizza! Mario wants to learn how to take care of a cricket so he takes Chester to China Town where they meet Sai Fong who feeds them all sort of Chinese food goodies. Chester chirps when he likes a new food, and I think that would be a fun dinnertime activity. Get the kids excited about trying a new food by telling them that they can act like Chester and chirp chirp chirp once they’ve tasted a food they enjoy. Sure, it’ll make for a noisy supper, but definitely a fun one.
We had our The Cricket in Times Square Dinner outside on the patio because the story begins with a picnic basket. You could have this dinner outside on the grass with a blanket and basket, outside on your favorite patio furniture, or even inside the living room on a picnic blanket with a fancy basket. Chester got to experience so many different foods so this dinner menu might seem like a few funny combinations, but they are all things that Chester got to taste on his travels around New York City. We even ate our dinner with chopsticks to try another new thing! If you or the little ones have trouble using chopsticks, you can tie a rubber band around two chopsticks to make them easier to use.
The Cricket in Times Square Family Dinner Book Club Menu
Roast Beef Sandwiches
(I like to set out all the ingredients and let everyone build their own sandwich)
Vegetable Fried Rice
Penne Pasta with Marinara Sauce and Pecorino Romano Cheese
Liverwurst (Chester’s favorite!)
Iced Strawberry Soda
Oh Henry Candy Bars
Now hop on over to Growing Book by Book for some conversation starters to discuss the book as well as fun decorations to adorn your dinner table!