On this Special Night
Reviewed: December 20, 2009
By: story by Claire Freedman / art by Simon Mendez
Publisher: Scholastic Books
28 pages, $18.99
On a silent winter’s night Little Kitten and Mother Cat are curled up
nice and warm in their barn when a succession of visitors begin to arrive, all
in need of a brief rest and perhaps something to eat before pushing on to an
appointment they do not want to miss. There’s a donkey, a little lamb,
some mice and a calf, all of whom display a real urgency about getting on with
Finally Little Kitten and Mother Cat follow their guests and, as they go, they
spy three men on camels silhouetted against the night sky. And, of course, in
a stable not too far from their barn they find all the animals gathered to see
the baby which is in the manger under the light of the bright star.
You got this one as soon as you read “silent night” didn’t
The story is luminously illustrated with practically photo realistic paintings
of the animals by Mendez.
I have narrative problems with any story that has the Three Wise Men arriving
on the night Christ was born. The Gospel of Matthew clearly indicates otherwise,
hinting at anything from a few months to a couple of years. Nevertheless, the
story here is well told and it’s really more about the animals than it
is about anything else.