Meowy Christmas? Charlie and the Christmas Kitty by Ree Drummond
Charlie the Ranch Dog here, reporting from the country.
Things have sure been busy around here these days. This evening for instance, I'm bringing this great big TREE into the house.
Well, I'm helping anyhow."
Charlie the Ranch Dog is top dog around the ranch, to hear him tell it. Actually, Charlie's chief talent is napping anywhere, anytime... most of the time. But when he's awake, he is a keen observer of doings around the ranch, a legend in his own mind, who keeps everything moving along around the spread.
"I'M THE BEST CRITTER CHASER, FENCE FIXER, AND FISH CATCHER IN SIX STATES.
And there is plenty going on as the whole family pitches in to get ready for a Western Yuletide. The tree goes up and decorations follow all over the house. Charlie supervises and gives a nod of approval. With things under control, he feels duly justified in corking off for some celebratory shut-eye under the tree.
But Charlie's nap is cut short suddenly.
"HUH? WHAT DID I MISS? WHAT IS THAT NOISE?
IT'S A...IT'S A....?
I THINK IT'S A... KITTY!
WHAT IS A KITTEN DOING ON MY RANCH?"
Charlie is totally flummoxed by the introduction of this new entity in his formerly stable world! A kitten is NOT a ranch hand sort of critter. Charlie tries to ignore the fuzzy interloper in hopes that the family will see that a kitty is totally out of place on a working ranch.
But as we know, kittens have their ways of charming even a crusty, grumpy, self-important Basset hound, and when the kitty climbs up and begins to knead Charlie's old back, his resistance melts like a Christmas snowman. And, as the last page suggests, the kitten is not the only new Christmas critter coming into Charlie's life. In Ree Drummond's sequel to her best-selling Charlie the Ranch Dog, (see my review here), our Charlie calls a truce with the Christmas kitty just in time for Walter, a new Basset hound pup, red ribbon around his pudgy little neck, to make his final-spread cameo appearance page right.
Drummond's latest, Charlie and the Christmas Kitty (Harper, 2012), triumphs over a well-worn plot with the considerable help of Diane DeGroat's illustrative skills. Managing to set her comic dogs and dang cute kitty cat into a vivid but realistically portrayed Western ranchhouse setting, DeGroat carries the ball here, keeping cuteness well under control while creating a Christmasy scene of great charm. There is no doubt that Charlie is going to be breaking in his new ranch dog sidekick in an upcoming sequel, enlivened again, we hope, by Diane DeGroat's art.