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A Cat's Night Before Christmas    by Henry Beard, Susann Jones & John Boswell order for
Cat's Night Before Christmas
by Henry Beard
Order:  USA  Can
Broadway, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Henry Beard's re-telling of Clement C. Moore's classic takes the charmingly delinquent perspective of a family feline who looks remarkably like one of my cats. You know what you're in for from the first verse: ''Twas the night before Christmas / And all through the house, / Not a creature was stirring - / I'd killed the last mouse.' Susann Jones's illustration (of a mousehole with a 'For Rent' sign) adds to the humor.

Anyone who lives with cats will recognize all the tricks in here - scratching the Christmas tree and breaking low hung ornaments, coughing up furballs, clawing rugs, jostling jugs, and zooming down hallways. I love the hilarious cat's-eye comment on the turkey - 'On top of the counter, Birdzilla was thawing; / On that big ugly gobbler they soon would be gnawing, / I catch heck for nibbling a few baby sparrows / And they feast on turkeys the size of wheelbarrows.' Finally, after an overdose of catnip, this new Macavity has a vision ... of 'a sleigh drawn by eight pairs of white mice' (with very funny names), carrying Saint Kitt, who happens to be a large, sardonic, white cat.

Give A Cat's Night Before Christmas to kids of all ages who appreciate our feline friends. Its verses and illustrations combine into tremendous fun, and also demonstrate that there couldn't have been a cat present in Clement C. Moore's original 'Not a creature was stirring' house.

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