The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale, by Carmen Agra Deedy & Randall Wright with Drawings by Barry Moser, is a delightful read. People who are familiar with Charles Dickens' writings will be amused by the clever use of him and his works. People who are not will still have much to love in this book.
We begin by meeting Skilly, a street cat who has a past he'd like to forget and a secret that he doesn't want to share. His introduction rings familiar to audiences everywhere: "He was the best of toms. He was the worst of toms."
With every protagonist (hero), we must have an antagonist (villain), so we then meet Pinch. Also a cat, he's the worst. Pinch is mean and nasty, a cat you wouldn't like to cross.
Then we have Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. This is a pub, famous for the best cheese in London (Cheshire cheese, of course), and a place where writers (such as Charles Dickens) liked to sit and write. The Cheese (as the pub is known) is looking for a mouser. It seems there are a surplus of mice living in The Cheese, and the landlord would like to keep them under control. Skilly takes a bold approach and enters (with a notable author) through the front door. He succeeds in catching a mouse nearly immediately, and is 'hired' on.
Now, we meet Pip. After catching his first mouse, Skilly finds privacy in another room to finish it off. Only here's where things get interesting. Skilly has no interest in eating the mouse. In fact, he lets him down, unharmed. The mouse is, of course, Pip. After the initial shock and fright leaves him, Pip and Skilly have a chat. Pip discovers Skilly's secret, and the two of them come to an agreement as to how they are going to live peacefully in The Cheese.
But that isn't really the half of it. There's adventure, suspense, surprise, mysterious visitors, authors with writers-block, bravery, and great acts of heroism. It's a great read, full of twists and turns at every corner. Just when you think you know what's coming, there's something new ahead of you. This is a great book that is recommended for readers ages 8 to 99 (or higher!). It's a fun little story that will have you turning the pages for more. For younger readers (or those who need a little brush up on their vocabulary) there is a glossary at the end that will help with some of those words that may be new or unfamiliar. It is certainly a book that I will be reaching for again.