The Cricket in Times Square is the Newbery Award-winning book from the 1960s, and it is beautifully quaint. Chester Cricket winds up in New York City's Times Square after a picnic accident (he fell asleep in the basket) in Connecticut, and is taken in by Mario Bellini. Mario's family owns a small newsstand in Times Square, where Chester takes up residence in a small matchbook. He befriends Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat, starts playing opera on his hind legs (he is a cricket, after all), and gets to know a Chinese man who gives him a lovely home to live in.
My mom read this to me and Haley when we were wee children (sorry to end that awesome alliteration), and I enjoyed it then as much as I did this time around. It's a simple story, although some of it isn't totally politically correct. (A lot of stuff from the '60s isn't, but we move on.) You can knock this out in an afternoon; get to it!