Skilley isn’t your ordinary cat; Skilley loves cheese not mice. So he becomes the mouser at Cheshire Cheese shop and forms and alliance with the mice. The mice provide him with cheese and he pretends to catch them. Cheshire Cheese is full of interesting characters; Charles Dickens is a regular who is trying to write a new story and can’t figure out an opening line, Maldwyn a Tower Raven is hiding in the attic and a Skilley’s nemesis, Pinch, worms his way into the shop. Skilley and Pip, the mouse who can read and write, must find a way to return Maldwyn to the Tower and save the mice from Pinch. Everything comes to a head when Queen Victoria herself comes to the shop.
This was a delightful story. I loved all the Dickens references (even if I haven’t read Dickens in years) and I loved the relationship between Skilley and Pip. All the characters were really well written and interesting. Great book for kids who like animal characters or just a bit of historical fun.
Mankind has always wanted to know more about the animal kingdom. Some animals have been feared, some depicted as gods, some made into pets, and others used for food. The author tells a story of many animals as individuals or as groups, from the ancient past to the present. Excellent photographs and drawings clearly show the animal being described. She brings out many questions that have been asked about the relationship of humans and animals through the years. General information about the situation is given, but readers are allowed to make their own decisions. She describes their lives in the free world and in zoos. At the end, she lets the reader feel and see the world as an animal would, to help us understand their feelings and actions. I found this to be a verywarm, clear description, easily understood by young readers.
Using excerpts from Michener’s books, he writes segments about the animals that were included in the larger stories. This is a wonderful history of the changes of the Earth through the centuries – the development of land and water features and the beginnings of the animal kingdom – from small to huge, back to medium size, and the coming of man. Description of each section is so full of information that the reader feels like he/she is actually there, watching the events happening and understanding the feelings of the animals. One adventure follows two men and a hyena as they explore Africa as friends. Others told about the lives of a mastodon, an ancesstral bison, a crab, a dinosaur, a salmon, armadillos, the comparison of two hunting dogs – a labrador and a chesapeake – by their competing owners, and several other animals. All had names and personalities. I learned so very much about these animals as their stories were told. The last story is told by the author as he visits an old friend who was trying to protect his bird feeder from an invading squirrel, but unwilling to endanger the pest. The squirrel was in no danger.