1. Have a sinuous, mysterious violin piece (you pick one) play in the assembly from an unidentified, anonymous location. (Probably via an unseen mike and speaker.) Just let it start and play. Have specially selected students – perhaps dressed up as Grand Central Station commuters (e.g. a business man w/ briefcase; a secretary in pearls and high heels; others) arrive on stage, search for the source, fail to find it, and carry on their way. Such an assembly would have no words – just the beautiful violin piece, people conspicuously wondering what it is/where it’s coming from – and that’s it. Simple, beautiful, mysterious, perfect.
4. Some schools like to have an interactive fair of sorts on the day they start their book. They like to devote a day to it, or sometimes a parent evening. For these schools, serving food is a key element driving attendance and participation. In this vein, you could have A Cricket in Times Square Banquet – devoted to all the food in the book. Start w/ Sai Fong’s banquet (e.g. chop suey), then add Tucker Mouse’s celebration (e.g. popcorn), and make sure to include the little random elements like Tucker’s liverwurst and Mario’s chocolate and Sai Fong’s mulberry leaves. It would make for quite a broad-ranging introduction to the book.
[Note: Some schools like to hold an event like this at the end of their month. For A Cricket in Times Square Banquet, holding it at the end of the month would be ideal. Just imagine kids having the chance to go up and smell and touch and taste (for the daring) - "This is liverwurst?! Yuck." But it's little stuff like that that brings the book alive.]