Unlike Keats' city slums, this palm-treed, riverside shantytown has a ramshackle insouciance. The story deals with the disappearance of Maggie's pet cricket, its ultimate drowning when she scuffles with the self-proclaimed young "pirate" who has stolen it, and the pirate's sudden appearance at the cricket's funeral with a just-as-sudden confession: "It was the cage--I wanted it real bad. I didn't mean for the cricket to die. My ol' man--he never makes anything for me. He doesn't even talk to me." Maggie accepts his offer of a new cricket in the old cage, and in a companionable finale Maggie, the pirate, and two other kids (her sidekicks throughout) sit and listen to its song. Keats' scruffy urchins with their black dot eyes are jaunty, though a shade too cute, and his marbleized skies at dusk are a shade too turbulent and charged for the relatively anemic story. Still, after some of his recent, more somber-looking picture books, it is cheering to see the sun come out in these blurry, rainbow-colored pages.