“This perfect Christmas read-aloud was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings of La Madonna del Gatto, which show Mary cuddling both the baby Jesus and a cat.” ~inside blurb of The Christmas Cat
What ever happened to “the Little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes?” Well, like all idealized portraits, the image of a Jesus, even as a baby, who never cried, never expressed any emotions at all, and certainly never made any trouble or expressed a preference, has become inadequate, and we’ve come around and circled back to a Renaissance view of a Jesus who laughed and cried and pooped and even maybe, had a pet cat.
The Christmas Cat tells the story of Jesus’ birth in a stable where a tiny kitten comforted him with it purrs. The story continues with Jesus’ early childhood, and then the flight to Egypt, during which the cat again saves the day, and Mary’s frayed nerves. “The rhythmic rumbling, as always, soothed the baby, and Jesus fell sound asleep.”
I’m not all that fond of cats (or dogs), but The Christmas Cat is a story that will captivate the imagination of young animal lovers everywhere and give them an image of the baby Jesus with whom they can identify. Of course, I would tell my children that The Christmas Cat is an imaginary story, that we don’t really know if Jesus had a pet. But we can be sure that according to Scripture, Jesus was “fully human in every way” (Hebrews 2:17). Why not a pet cat for the boy who would grow up to preach that not even a sparrow falls without the Lord’s notice and care?
The illustrations in this Christmas picture book are by Amy June Bates, who has several children’s boos to her credit, including the easy reader Martin’s Dream by Jane Kurtz. The illustrations in The Christmas Cat a soft and colorful bringing the animals and people and first-century travels of the Holy family to life.
If you want to add a Christmas picture book to your collection this year, The Christmas Cat is a good, solid choice.
Today’s Gifts from Semicolon
A song: Mark Steyn on White Christmas by Irving Berlin.
A movie: Semicolon family’s favorite Christmas movie is White Christmas, corny jokes and all.
Phil Davis: When what’s left of you gets around to what’s left to be gotten, what’s left to be gotten won’t be worth getting, whatever it is you’ve got left.
Phil Davis: I want you to get married. I want you to have nine children. And if you only spend five minutes a day with each kid, that’s forty-five minutes, and I’d at least have time to go out and get a massage or something.
Phil Davis: How can a guy that ugly have the nerve to have sisters?
Bob Wallace: Very brave parenting.
Bob Wallace: Miss Haynes, if you’re ever under a falling building and someone offers to pick you up and carry you to safety, don’t think, don’t pause, don’t hesitate for a moment, just spit in his eye.
Betty Haynes: What did that mean?
Bob Wallace: It means we’re going to Vermont.
A birthday and a book(list): Rex Stout, b.1886.
A verse: Mistletoe by Walter de la Mare and Lines for a Christmas Card by Hillaire Belloc.
A Christmas idea: Let Us Keep the Feast: A Book Recommendation for the beginning of Advent (today)