cover image The Christmas Day Kitten

The Christmas Day Kitten

James Herriot. St. Martin's Press, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-312-13407-5

The noted veterinarian and storyteller recalls a Christmas morning when he was summoned to the home of Mrs. Pickering. Usually he called on her Basset hounds, but this time the woman's concern was for a mother cat that was sick. The cat, a stray that occasionally hung around at Mrs. Pickering's, had brought her kitten with her and then died. Mrs. Pickering keeps the kitten, which grows up to become a ""retriever-cat,'' fetching balls and setting them at his mistress's feet. Portraits of Mrs. Pickering and her animals, elegantly executed by Brown, round out this story about the quiet joy of the miracle of birth. It portrays a holiday spirit usually associated with the past: that the humblest of pleasures are the ones most keenly felt. (All ages