This easy-reader entry from Bauer (Alison's Fierce and Ugly Halloween, 1997, etc.) tells the story of a frosty, magical night in the forest that gives Cat a new reverence for all babies, regardless of their species. Hungry and shivering, Cat has been left outdoors by her owners on Christmas Eve. A fortuitous encounter with a naive young mouse means dinner, but Cat is first roped into explaining what Christmas is to the forest creatures. Cat experiences a quick reversal of fortunes when she becomes a prospective meal for grouchy Bear, who has been roused out of hibernation. A frantic explanation about the special Christmas baby leads Bear, Mama Mouse, and Cat to reflect on the miracle of babies, and Cat is invited into the mice's home to await morning. Separated into six easy chapters and designed for emerging readers, the book has an element of uncertainty to keep children engaged, and will also entertain a more accomplished audience. Hearn's plentiful full-color illustrations vividly portray the action and tenderness of the tale in a realistic style. A unique--even surprising--holiday story that locates the real spirit of Christmas.