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Cheshire Cheese Cat

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale - Carmen Agra Deedy, Randall Wright, Barry Moser

Children will take pleasure in reading this adventurous and humorous Victorian story set in London’s Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.  It is a book whose main characters are animals and humans play the supporting roles.  One of those humans being British author Charles Dickens.  It is evident that Dickens and his works served as a great inspiration to the author.  Some of the characters, like Nell and Pip, are named after some of Dickens’ own characters.  Even though this is a chapter book, it does contain a few realistic looking illustrations of the scenes and characters in black and white.  The book is full of figurative language including some well executed puns and idioms.  Deedy’s clever play with words; as seen in Chapter 10 p. 34- 35, are delight to see and read.  The book is also full of cliffhangers (the end of chap. 26 p.104, chapters 27 and 28) that are sure to keep a child’s attention.  Children will surely enjoy this unexpected tale of two friends; Skilley, the inn’s new mouser cat, who befriends a mouse named Pip.  Both cat and mouse hold secrets and embark on a dangerous adventure to save the royal raven.   

My favorite character from The Cheshire Cheese Cat had to have been Pip the literate mouse with a spectacular vocabulary.  Yes, mice are smart but Pip is a self-taught mouse that can communicate with mice, cats, ravens, and even humans.  He is humorous, a good friend, and courageous.  One of my favorite and most humorous scenes in the book is found in Chapters 37-38.  As Pip tries to write the rescue letter all the animals are trying to hurry him.  Pip tries to tell everyone that “words must have context.”  When Pip leaves the room, the rest take on the task of finishing the letter which ends up looking like a lot like a random letter.  The illustration shows the blood stain on the letter (from the meat) and it resembles a raven.  This scene, the animal’s haste and insistence foreshadow that a surprising event will follow suit.