Feb 23, 12
Read in February, 2012
In 19th-century London an alley cat called Skilley takes up residence in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, an inn frequented by a number of writers, including Charles Dickens. Skilley is there ostensibly to rid the inn of mice, but in an odd twist to the story, the cat doesn’t like to eat mice. He would rather eat cheese, and the inn is known to have the best cheese London has to offer. Skilley strikes up a bargain with Pip, the leader of the mice. He will put on a make believe show of catching mice (which he releases unharmed out of sight) and they will lie low during the daytime and bring him cheese from the storeroom. All is well until Adele, a bar girl at the inn who tends to be more bothered by the mice than are others, secures a second cat, another alley cat called Pinch who is an old nemesis of Skilley’s and who relishes eating mice. Meanwhile, Skilley becomes aware of a problem Pip and the mice are trying to solve – how to return a lost tower raven to the Tower of London. The bird had been attacked by a gang of alley cats and rescued by Nell, the innkeeper’s daughter who stowed the bird safely in the attic before she was sent to live with relatives in the country. No one else knows of the raven’s presence.
Another fine mouse story. Although young readers will not appreciate the various references to the works of Charles Dickens, nor recognize the author himself, who makes several appearances in the book, they will enjoy the alliance of the various animals as they work to secure the safety of the mice and the return of the raven to his home.