There are lessons in friendship (New York City cats and mice have worked past the age-old rivalry), integrity (Chester refuses to abandon the newsstand after an accident that will surely be thought his fault), and loyalty (Harry and Tucker help Chester fulfill a deep longing, even though it means they may never see him again).
Adults may be uncomfortable with the linguistic caricature of Mr. Fong and the fact that Mario seems to work a lot of late night shifts on the weekends, but these are excellent discussion points. How do modern authors deal with foreign accents? Why is Mario, an elementary-level student, working until past midnight on Saturdays? A little exploration of child labor laws and cultural stereotypes can lead to a lively discussion and an excellent opportunity for children to practice their critical thinking skills. It is the combination of weighty discussion material and positive lessons in The Cricket in Times Square that makes it a superb choice, especially for a kids' book club.