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LARSON: Enjoying Christmas by the book

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

Every Christmas I make sure everyone in my family finds a book under the tree. However, for the 200 some books I bought over the years, I hardly remember any of them. But in recent years I’ve come across some books I might have bought had they been around when my kids were young.

I love the Bad Kitty books by Nick Bruel, which depict Bad Kitty’s capers as she alphabetically goes about destroying things, and then makes amends.

For example, “A Bad Kitty Christmas” begins: “’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the city, not a creature was stirring except for Bad Kitty.” The story goes on with “The Angel was Ambushed, the Books were all Bumped, ” etc. And even though I never bought a Bad Kitty book for my own kids, I love giving them as baby shower gifts.

Another cat book, fresh off the press for 2013 is “The Christmas Cat” by Maryann Macdonald. This delightful picture book about a kitten who comforts Baby Jesus in the manger was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of La Madonna del Gatto, which shows Mary holding the Infant Jesus, who is cuddling a cat. What a cute way to make art history come alive.

I love “Dewey, the Small-town Library Cat who Touched the World” by Vicki Myron and was delighted to see that she wrote two picture book versions of this cute little cat: “Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library” and “Dewey’s Christmas at the Library.”

I discovered another interesting cat book written in 2012 which isn’t even a children’s book or one that I would have even bought. I mention it only because it addresses a relatively new and growing concern in our society. “The Cat who Came Back for Christmas: How a Cat Brought a Family the Gift of Love, ” a memoir by Julia Romp tells the story of her own son, George, who has autism. George was distant and non-communicative, but when he was nine-years old, Ben, a stray cat appeared in their garden. George bonded with Ben and opened up to his mother as well, but after three years Ben suddenly disappeared. The title, I believe, reveals a happy ending and hope for any families dealing with autism.

Not to leave dog lovers out, I just have to mention how enchanted I am with the Carl books by Alexandra Day. Carl, a Rottweiler, is left to babysit while his owners go out on the town. The pictures tell the story with detail and depth appealing to the adult eye as well as the child’s.

Even if buying books for Christmas is not part of your tradition or holiday budget, the best thing about the books I mentioned is that they are all available in the Gwinnett Library. And it doesn’t have to be Christmas for you to check them out.

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.