A warm tale for Christmastime.
Nina the cat has a “house,” which the illustrations depict as a small, cardboard box in an alley. The opening lines tell readers that “the floor was icy and cold air came through the door,” but the accompanying image shows Nina wearing a red-striped sweater that covers her legs and body from neck to tail. Is this the eponymous Christmas sweater? Not exactly. As Nina ventures from her cardboard house, readers will note that a red strand of yarn is trailing from her sweater, unraveling it page after page. She doesn’t notice as she traipses by caroling mice and other creatures. By the time she does realize that “her belly [has] started to get cold,” the yarn is completely unraveled and is “being pulled away and beginning a journey of its own.” Nina follows in hot pursuit through illustrations that show various perspectives of the city and slapstick scenes of the cat crashing into other animals as she tries to catch the yarn snaking away from her. Then the yarn leads to a bookstore, in which she finds Ms. Badger, humming and knitting in a wingback chair. The ending is as abrupt as Nina’s realization that she’s lost her sweater: Nina arrives, Ms. Badger offers her tea, and then with the page turn, the bookstore is named as Nina’s new home.
A cozy cat tale, if too-quickly resolved. (Picture book. 3-6)