THE WITNESS by Robert Westall


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 Freelance illustrator Williams (When Grandma Came, 1992) has lovingly redecorated this 1986 story by Westall (Christmas Spirit, p. 1422, etc.), the last book he ever wrote. ``The witness'' is a cat who lives in Judea after being kidnapped from Egypt where she had been a god. Now she is desolate in this strange new land, cold and hungry and about to give birth. She finds a poor stable, little better than the outdoors, and goes inside. There she sees a woman who is also in labor. The woman protects the cat, who has two kittens, and the cat in turn watches over the man-kitten who is born to the woman. And the cat realizes that this is no ordinary baby. Jesus glows with radiant light; angels attend his birth; rich and poor alike come to visit the Christ-child. Then the woman's husband has a dream that he must return the cat to her rightful home. He believes this to be with the Judean man who purchased her from her kidnapper, but his wife knows better. The man, woman, child, kittens, and cat, therefore, depart for Egypt. ``The cat of Bastet-Ra was going home.'' The sophisticated tale is adorned by Williams's graceful drawings in which the cat is truly feline, by turns sleek, sensual, and alert. (Fiction/Picture book. All ages)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-525-45331-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1994


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