The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy & Randall Wright. il by Barry Moser.
Peachtree Publishers: Atlanta, 2011.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a London inn popular among writers, including Mr. Charles Dickens. While hanging about the inn, stumped by his current writing of A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens invites the alley cat Skilley into the place, and Skilley becomes the resident mouser. The innkeeper's daughter Nell, away on holiday, has saved and ministered to animals, including the mouse Pip and the raven Maldwyn. Pip and Skilley become friends, since Skilley's favorite food is cheese. Maldwyn is hidden as he is still healing.

Also residing at the inn is the maid Adele who hates the mice that have taken to harassing her. She brings in another cat to speed the decrease of mice. This cat, Pinch, is a bully and Skilley's nemesis.

Meanwhile, one of the ravens from the Tower of London is missing. Guess who? The animals scheme to return him to his home. Plus, cheese is disappearing at a rapid rate.

This is the secret to how Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has managed to survive through the centuries when other inns have not. Somewhat ordinary events are portrayed in a fantastic account. Mr. Dickens, and even Queen Victoria, play a part.

It's been a while since I have read a book for young readers I so thoroughly enjoyed. The decriptions of animal behavior are great. The story is complex for that level, and the flow keeps any level interested. And of course, there are references to Dickens's writings.
related-animals, cats and mice, Cheshire cheese, taverns, inns, Great Britain, Queen Victoria, light fantasy
RL=4th and up

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