The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer. Constance Corcoran Wilson, Gary McClusky, ill. 2015. 36 pages. Quad Cities Press. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of author.]
The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer is the fourth installment in The Christmas Cats series, a fun and festive collection of books centered around cats that are great problem-solvers. In this book, the Christmas Cats are called on to help usher the deer – who keep eating the bark from trees – out of harm’s way, which will surely come at the hands of pesky hunters.
I read this with my 7-year-old and we both loved it. I was initially concerned about the references to hunters and wondered where the story would take them. However, I was impressed at the author’s ability to tackle what could be a sensitive topic in an age-appropriate and comical way. My daughter particularly liked the reference to the North Pole, Santa Clause, and his reindeer, which made everything more familiar.
The book itself is told in rhyme, and is easy to understand. It also has a moral component about vandalism which is subtle yet clear — it is the foundation of the story without making this a preachy tale. This is appropriate for reading aloud, but is also interesting and complex enough for independent readers to manage on their own. The illustrations are bright and colorful and feature detailed hand-drawn characters. I loved the border of Christmas lights that lend just a little bit more festivity to the pages.
I think this is a great addition to any holiday story collection, and great for a family to read together . Although this book references its predecessors, it does so in a way that provides enough context to keep the story going; it can be read on its own.Our favorite part of the book is at the end – there are activities! The maze directly relates to the plot of the story, as does the coloring page that you can email to be featured on the book series’ website. These activities were totally unexpected, but definitely an added incentive (especially if you have a young reader who’s not quiet enthusiastic).