Of Cats and Books and Christmas

We have some favorite Christmas books in this house, going back to when my daughters were pretty young and while my grandson was over for the Thanksgiving holidays recently, we got those books out and took turns reading them. It seems that cats, Christmas and books are something of a theme in our family.

I’d have to say one of my favorites is The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett. It’s a nice take on the Santa Claus/North Pole story and her illustrations are amazing. I could sit and study the pages for a long time, admiring all the tiny details she put in at the side margins. My nine year old grandson was not as patient, although he liked the story. He particularly liked the part where the reindeer got their antlers entangled and poor Teeka the Elf has to figure out how to fix the problem. (NOTE: the cat isn’t a main player in this story but there Is a cat…)

Then we read Tosca’s Christmas with Anne Mortimer’s beautiful cat illustrations (story by Matthew Sturgis). You have to feel for poor Tosca, tossed outside in the snow and ~ SPOILERS AHEAD ~ rescued by Santa, ending up by the fire with her very own mouse-shaped gift. (Hmmm, wonder what that might be LOL? No, it was a windup mousie…)

There’s the somewhat similar A Pussycat’s Christmas, by Margaret Wise Brown, again with illustrations by the incomparable Anne Mortimer.

And in the back of the bookcase we discovered The Kitten’s Secret, a VERY old, held-together-with-scotch-tape book from my childhood, which isn’t about Christmas…but now we think we know why I always said I’d never own an orange tabby cat. (Please don’t tell my adorable Jake, who everyone insists IS orange, not “cameo”!) The kitten of the title, Butter, was extremely mischievous throughout the entire book. I’m pretty sure my mother probably read all her adventures in a suitably disapproving tone, leaving me with the indelible impression that orange cats were quite a handful and to be avoided.

Our housecats were usually gray striped tabbies.

We didn’t even try reading Angelina’s Christmas to my grandson – he was anxious to return to watching “Brave” and “Dragon Riders of Berk” on his dvd player. But later I went back through the book by myself and savored the illustrations. We used to have a huge stack of Angelina Ballerina’s adventures but the Christmas story was our first…

I have a feeling my kittens will be fascinated by the Christmas tree and the ornaments and everything to do with the holiday. Fun times ahead! They may need Santa to intervene for them if they get too rambunctious LOL!

Does your family have favorite children’s books to read out loud together for this season?

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