cover image The Christmas Cat

The Christmas Cat

Maryann Macdonald, illus. by Amy June Bates. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3498-2

Macdonald turns a parent’s eye on the Nativity scene though the familiar struggle to calm an inconsolable infant. All efforts fail, until “a curious kitten crept out of the shadows”; later, the same cat keeps Jesus calm as the family flees Herod’s soldiers. Working in watercolor and gouache, Bates creates marvelous earth-toned illustrations of all the familiar characters, with texture and depth added through deft pencil marks and attention to light and shadow. An author’s note credits inspiration from da Vinci’s multiple drawings of La Madonna del Gatto, or the Madonna of the Cat. An especially intimate and human retelling, with exquisite drawings. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Steven Chudney, the Chudney Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Shannon Associates. (Oct.)