cover image The Twelve Cats of Christmas

The Twelve Cats of Christmas

Chronicle Books, Kandy Radzinski. Chronicle Books, $9.95 (26pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0102-7

Although billed as a children's book, this cat-happy twist on the traditional English Christmas song is best targeted to hard-core feline fanciers of any age. These people won't care that the lines don't scan well and display little imagination (``. . .three climbing cats, two cats asleep, and a white cat with a red bow''), and that all the cats seem frozen in space, including the 12 cats a-leaping and the 11 cats a-racing. Instead, they'll appreciate Radzinski's solemn, admiring paintings of her subjects, each whisker heroically articulated, and her settings (the sleeping twosome curl up prettily in a basket with a Christmas quilt, six cats a-playing are decorously entangled with ribbon and gift wrap). A small format (six-and-a-half-inches square) heightens the lavishness of the details here, and each of the full-spread illustrations receives a border with a different holiday theme (holly and ivy, gold stars, paper chains, Christmas cookies, etc.). Catnip to the favorably predisposed, dressed-up doggerel to everyone else. All ages. (Nov.)