Title: Meowy Christmas | Authors: Gregory Bray | Illustrator: Holly J. Bray-Cook | Designer: Mark Rylander | Publication Date: November 11, 2014 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 44 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 10
It’s Franklin’s first Christmas with his new family and he is excited to see a present under the tree with his name on it. He panics when he sees that it’s from mom and dad and realizes he didn’t get them anything. With his friend Charley’s insight, Franklin discovers Christmas is about much more than presents.
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1. What is the book about? This book is about a cat named Franklin and it’s the day before Christmas. He’s walking by the Christmas tree and he sees a present with his name on it and realizes that he didn’t get a present for his Mom and Dad. Then he goes outside to ask his friend Charlie what he gets for his parents for Christmas. Charlie says that he doesn’t give them presents and he appreciates being with his family.
2. What do you think of the book cover and the images inside the book? I really liked all the pictures and I thought they were cute.
3. What are your favorite parts of the book? I liked the part when Franklin gets his presents on Christmas and he’s really happy with them. I liked how he opened the present because it was funny.
4. What presents do you think our cats, Flame and Midnight, would like for Christmas? They would like cat treats because they haven’t had any in a while and some new toys and cat-nip. They go crazy when they get cat-nip. It’s fun to watch!
5. What did you learn from this book? I learned that sometimes you don’t need to have presents on Christmas and you should just appreciate that you are with your family and you are not alone.
6. Overall, what did you think about the book? I really liked it and I want to read it again.
7. Who do you think would like this book? I think that kids who really like Christmas, really like cats, and like getting presents for everybody (including cats), would like this book.
My Thoughts: Meowy Christmas is an adorable picture book with an underlying message about the true meaning of Christmas. We are introduced to “Franklin”, a rescued cat now living with “Mom and Dad” in his forever home. Franklin is surprised to discover that his parents have bought a Christmas present for him; but, he begins to worry when he realizes that he does not have a gift for them. Poor Franklin doesn’t have a penny, so as he goes through a mental checklist of what he could give as a present (hairball, anyone?), he finally goes to consult his friend, Charlie the dog.
Charlie is the one who teaches Franklin that “Christmas isn’t about just gifts.” So, when Christmas finally arrives and Franklin literally tears open his present, he knows just what to give in return – just what any pet owner would expect from their furry friends (you’ll have to read the book to find out!)
Meowy Christmas is a perfect choice for Christmas-time to help children understand, not only the meaning of Christmas, but the thoughts behind gift-giving. As parents, we have the money to purchase nice gifts for our children, but our children (gross generalization here!) cannot reciprocate dollar-for-dollar. It is important for children to understand that the value of a present is not determined by how much it cost. The homemade gifts I often receive from my children are the gifts that I value the most. Whatever is gifted, it is the joy on the receiver’s face that is the real reward.
Aside from this important message, Meowy Christmas includes many humorous moments as well as whimsical illustrations throughout that will keep children entertained while the book is being read to them. Franklin came up with many “interesting” ideas for gifts and anyone who has cats will relate to the image of Franklin “opening” his gift. The illustrations by Holly Bray-Cook are very sweet, but the style may not be for everyone. There are a few illustrations (especially the ones including the lower half of the humans) that appear a bit awkward; but overall, I think children will enjoy them.
My Bottom Line: Meowy Christmas is an adorable holiday-themed picture book examining the spirit of gift-giving using a rescued cat as the main character on his search for the purr-fect gift for his new “Mom and Dad”. Children will enjoy the humor sprinkled throughout the book as well as the colorful, child-friendly illustrations. I recommend this book to children ages 4 to 10 years of age.
* This book was provided to me by the publisher free-of-charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. *
About the Author
Gregory E Bray was born and raised in Sacramento, CA where he still resides He was a film major in college who now works in the IT industry. He has written scripts for corporate videos and shorts and uses humor in everything he writes. He uses humor in his first children’s book, The “Tail” of a Boy Named Harvey to help get the book’s message out to children. His inspiration for writing this children’s book comes from his wife Lita, their son Liam and their cat Harvey.