The Cricket in Times Square

The Cricket in Times Square Summary and Analysis of Chapters 7 - 8


That night in the newsstand, Chester tells Harry and Tucker about his trip to Chinatown. Tucker is really fond of Chester's new cage. Harry talks about how much he loves Chinese food, and Tucker mentions that he once thought of living down in Chinatown, but decided not to because he was worried they would turn him into a mouse soufflé.

Tucker continues to admire the cage and tells Chester he could live like a king in this, but Chester says he is not fond of staying in the cage because he does not like the feeling of being locked in. Harry lifts the latch for Chester to come out, and he is relieved to be free. He lets Tucker go inside to try it out, and offers to let him sleep in the cage. Tucker is overjoyed, but wants something to line the cage to make it softer. They suggest Kleenex, but he has something in mind already: dollar bills.

They line the cage with dollars and find one of Mama's fake diamond earrings to use as a pillow, and Tucker is all set in his palace. Harry heads back to the drainpipe to sleep, and Chester hops into his old matchbox. Before he falls asleep, he realizes he is beginning to enjoy life in New York.

In his dream that night, Chester is sitting on top of a stump back in Connecticut and eating a leaf. It does not taste quite right, but he keeps eating. A storm comes, blowing clouds of dust, and Chester sneezes so hard that he wakes up. He realizes he has been sleepwalking, and the leaf he thought he was chewing is really a two-dollar bill. He has already eaten half of it.

He immediately rings the bell in the cage to wake Tucker, who is alarmed until he realizes what is going on. Chester explains what he did, and Tucker is mortified. He tries to help Chester think of a way to fix this. He suggests Chester eat the rest of it, too, and the Bellinis will not know what happened; however, Chester realizes they would accuse each other of losing it, and does not want to create bad feeling between them.

Tucker also suggests framing someone else—the janitor, maybe, or a stranger. They discuss for so long, though, that they do not realize what time it is, and all the sudden Mama Bellini is there to open up the stand. She chases Tucker away, appalled at the idea of a mouse in the newsstand. Chester is caught red handed, holding the chewed up two-dollar bill.

Mama is extremely angry, and though Papa and Mario try to calm her down once they arrive, nothing makes a difference. Mama wants to get rid of the cricket immediately. Papa says he can stay as long as he remains in the cage at all times, but Mario knows Chester would miss his freedom. At last they decide that since the cricket is Mario's pet, he has to replace the money. Once he does, Chester can come out of the cage.

That night, Tucker and Harry come to visit Chester in his cage. They offer to let him out, but Chester says it would not be fair to Mario and he has to serve his sentence. Harry says that, if Mario just has to get the money from somewhere, not necessarily work for it, then Tucker should give them his money. Tucker explains that when he first came to New York, he learned the value of saving money, and started to collect loose change wherever he could find it.

Tucker now has two dollars and ninety-three cents. He is reluctant to give it up, but eventually does, not wanting to be remembered as stingy. He still has ninety-three cents left afterward, anyway. They pass up the coins one by one and build a tower on top of the newsstand, so that when the Bellinis come to open the stand the next morning they see it sitting there. They cannot figure out where the money came from, but Mama is true to her word. Because the money was replaced, the cricket could come out of his cage.


Chester is still not able to completely separate himself from his old life in Connecticut. This is proven by his reluctance to sleep in the cage that Mario bought him. Though he appreciates the gesture and is touched by the care Mario has shown for his comfort, Chester is used to the freedom of living in the open air like he did at home. To Chester, this cage represents confinement and restriction, and he does not want his new life in New York to restrict him in any way.

In spite of the cage, though, these are the first chapters in which Chester actively observes that he is beginning to like New York. On page 53, at the very end of Chapter 7, is the line "He was beginning to enjoy life in New York," just before Chester falls happily asleep in his matchbox. Chester has made good friends and is slowly beginning to get comfortable with his new surroundings. Readers are beginning to see the shift in Chester's mindset that was predicted earlier on in the book.

The two-dollar bill incident shows that Chester is not quite fully comfortable in New York yet, though, because he has to be conscious of things now that he did not have to back in Connecticut. But his response to it also reveals a lot about his character. As Tucker suggests, Chester could easily frame someone else or steal the money from someplace, but he chooses not to because he knows it would not be morally correct. Chester will not let anyone else take the fall for something he did, even though it was an accident, and this relays an important message about morality, honestly, and taking the blame.

Readers learn more about Tucker in these chapters as well. His obsession and fascination with money could easily make him come across as a stingy miser who cares more about material wealth than his friends. However, he quickly proves that this is not the case. Tucker is resourceful and clever with the money he collects. He is great at problem solving and immediately does his best to help Chester get out of trouble, even though he had nothing to do with it.

Finally, he shows that he is generous when he gives away some of his precious life savings to rescue his friend from his imprisonment. A character's choices say a lot about him, and Tucker chooses to be giving rather than cheap. On page 62, Tucker says, "[Never] let it be said that Tucker Mouse was stingy with his worldly goods." With this act of kindness, readers will never think that way of Tucker.