West Virginia Book Festival

Carmen Deedy’s latest: “The Cheshire Cheese Cat”

Carmen Deedy, one of the best parts of last year’s West Virginia Book Festival, has a new book coming out — and it’s a departure from her past few, which have been children’s picture books.

“The Cheshire Cheese Cat” is a chapter book set in Victorian England, at a famous pub. It’s the tale of an unlikely cat-and-mouse friendship (literally), and features a great author as a supporting character. Let’s just say that the subtitle is “A Dickens of a Tale,” and the first line is, “He was the best of toms, he was the worse of toms” — which I admit made me laugh out loud.

Deedy’s book (with co-author Randall Wright and illustrator Barry Moser) has been getting some great advance press. Publishers Weekly calls it “a delight,” and Kirkus Reviews says “readers with great expectations will find them fully satisfied by this tongue-in-cheek romp.”

According to Amazon, the book gets released Oct. 1. Deedy (whose “14 Cows for America” was mentioned a bunch recently during the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks) will be at the National Book Festival in Washington this weekend.