“What was that noise? What happened to the Christmas tree?” Nathan asked.
“Your cat is what happened. If Shadow doesn’t smarten up, he’s gone – out of this house,” Justen said, pointing his thumb over his shoulder.
The Cat in the Christmas Tree is a middle-grade chapter book about a rambunctious cat named Shadow. There are some fantasy elements to this short but sweet tale of a badly behaving cat.
Justen and Sara are husband and wife and parents of their eight year old child, Nathan. They are also guardians of a black cat named Shadow. The story opens up on Christmas Eve, with Shadow running around the house, knocking over eggnog and climbing the curtains. Justen is frustrated and fed up with the cat, while Sara is more compassionate. Nathan absolutely adores his cat, and becomes upset when his father threatens to get rid of Shadow. Nathan makes a wish on the Christmas tree to keep Shadow away from it. As the night goes on, Shadow’s behavior continues to get him in trouble, and Justen convinces Sara that Shadow must be put up for adoption. But unbeknownst to them, the Christmas tree is indeed magical, and Shadow will be taught a lesson about his behavior.
When I started reading The Cat in the Christmas Tree, I thought it might be a story about having compassion and patience. It is that, but it’s also to help teach children boundaries. The magical Christmas tree helps Shadow understand why his behavior is bad and the consequences of bad behavior. This is a good lesson for young people and in my opinion it’s told in an age-appropriate manner, even if it isn’t subtle about it.
Shadow’s personality comes through the pages and reminded me of the cats I grew up with and the cats I have at home. The magical elements of a talking tree, among other things, adds a sweet layer to the story. I thought the fantasy part of the story was creatively done and would even like to read more about it (I’m being vague as to not spoil what happens in the story). My only complaint after reading is that I wish Justen received a bit more of a lesson, too. I understand that he was frustrated but I didn’t like him as a character that much. He could learn a bit from Nathan, I think!
Overall, a cute story that a young child who loves cats would enjoy, especially during the holidays. I would recommend this book to young readers.
Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Cat in the Christmas Tree: A Magical Tail [ISBN: 9781726784061] was published on November 2, 2018. It is available on Amazon.