A sentient but unwitting knitted cat, intended as a gift for a girl named Daisy, journeys through a snowy night seeking his purpose.
Cat immediately poses his existential question—“Why was I made?”—even as Mommy’s knitting him into being. “It’s a surprise.” She gift-wraps him, cautioning him against “peeping.” Christmas Eve revelry is followed by an unendurable quiet: Cat peeps. Spying the gift tag labeled “DAISY,” he says, “That’s not my name,” and commences querying everybody and everything he can. Darkness suggests, “Wait until morning,” but toddlerlike Cat, imperious and driven, simply can’t. The appealing, folkloric narrative, paired with appropriately folk-art–style illustrations, many with borders that evoke handicrafts, follows Cat until dawn as he questions door, steps, snow, rock, stars, wind, trees, and the sun. Their respective answers are poignant, thoughtful, even philosophical. The steps say Cat was made “To go places,” while the rock answers, “To be strong!” “But I’m soft and fluffy,” Cat says—hinting that, despite his questing curiosity, his raison d’être is likely a mundane one. Having caught a thread on a nail on his way out the door, Cat is literally unravelling. At dawn, he’s merely a long thread—but his dialogue with the sun produces the necessary revelation. Meanwhile, resourceful mother and daughter (ginger-haired and pink-skinned) follow the clues, with Mommy winding yarn into a ball as they go. Home again, “Daisy watched as Mommy made Cat good as new.”
A cozy gift for Christmas—just like Cat. (Picture book. 3-7)