Charlie and the Catmas Tree

Children - Animals
40 Pages
Reviewed on 02/23/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Award-winning children’s author, Cindy L. Shirley grew up in a small town in Cherokee County Georgia. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother of two adorable granddaughters. She loves working with children and has tons of hilarious stories to share with her readers.

In addition to being a former ASP teacher in the North Georgia school system, Mrs. Shirley is the founder of Let’s Pretend Parties and Let’s Pretend Publishing. She continues to work with children of all ages as a party planner, entertainer, and hostess. These adventures along with her personal experiences are the basis for her heartwarming children’s books: “Diesel the Body Guard: No Bullies Allowed", "Go-Cart Gertie", "Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float", "A Song for Birdie: A Child’s Journey with Autism", "Stinky Feet Pete and the Mighty Hitters", "Charlie and the Catmas Tree", "Kitty Ballou’s Sanctuary Zoo", and the series of "The Fabulous Life of Minnie the Sassy Chick.”
Each beautifully illustrated book contains a valuable lesson that is ideal for elementary school-aged children. Her creative and fun-filled storylines are sure to make children everywhere laugh and smile.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Charlie and the Catmas Tree, written by Cindy Lazann Shirley and Emerson Cochran, is a children's book that places a reader in the home of Emmy Taylor in the heart of the Christmas season. The book begins with Emmy hanging the family stockings above the fireplace, one for each of her parents, her baby sister Savannah, and a final stocking big enough to hold what Emmy hopes to receive this year: a very distinctive black kitty with white paws and a mustache marking, and orange eyes. The Taylors then go about the usual holiday festivities, such as stringing lights on their absolutely massive home and finding the perfect tree. While they are out shopping, a costumed Santa is spotted with a box of free kittens and only one cat left. Lo and behold, Emmy's kitty as she described it is ready to go to his forever home—but forever is a long time with a cat like Charlie, and the family will have to try to get through Christmas first.

Charlie and the Catmas Tree is a fun read with a focus on rescue pets, a touch that authors Cindy Lazann Shirley and Emerson Cochran credit to a rescue cat that Shirley had herself. We are a cat-loving household so this book was a very easy sell to our youngest daughter, who didn't care one bit that it was February. The narrative is quite a bit more densely written than a standard children's read so I took the lead as she followed along. The illustrations by Maverick Book Services really bring the story to life, wonderfully done with a blend of digital art that looks very much like it could be hand-drawn. We both giggled once Charlie was home and adjusting to his new digs in the most hilarious ways, particularly one that culminates with some interesting tree decorations. My daughter also pointed out that, like in the book where Emmy and her father were reading a story together, we were enjoying the same bedtime ritual. This is a fun book that both parents and kids will find pleasure in.

Deborah Lloyd

Seven-year-old Emmy Taylor knew exactly what she wanted for Christmas – a black kitten with white paws, orange eyes, and a cute little face. She wrote Santa several times and included a drawing of the kitten in each letter. One busy Saturday, after decorating the house and tree, Emmy’s family went to the mall to do some shopping. A big surprise awaited Emmy and her wish came true. Charlie, the new kitten, was cute and mischievous. Household items went missing, including baby Savannah’s pacifier! Charlie saved his biggest adventure for Christmas Eve night, bringing the family much laughter and joy the next morning. The children’s book, Charlie and the Catmas Tree, crafted by Cindy L. Shirley and Emerson Cochran, is a delightful holiday tale.

There is a magical quality in the story that will enthrall children of all ages! How Emmy received Charlie, and what Charlie accomplished with the tree, will enhance the wonderment of the holiday season for children. Parents will enjoy reading this book over and over again, and it will likely become a must-read every winter. It will be especially fun for families with cherished pet cats. The writing flows seamlessly, and the story engages readers and listeners from the first page to the last. The beautiful illustrations are also delightfully detailed, enhancing the storyline further. These drawings will certainly capture and expand the imaginations of children. Authors Cindy L. Shirley and Emerson Cochran have gifted children with a captivating book in Charlie and the Catmas Tree.

Lois Henderson

For anyone who loves cats, Charlie and the Catmas Tree by Cindy L. Shirley and Emerson Cochran is an absolute must. The book, which is based on the real-life tale of “crazy rescue cat, Charlie Chaplin Shirley,” tells of how seven-year-old Emmy Taylor longs so much for a cat that she asks for one in a letter to Santa. After the whole family has succeeded, as a joint effort, in putting up the Christmas decorations around the family home, they all go off to do a little Christmas shopping before dinner. How Emmy comes to satisfy her heart’s desire while on the outing, and what happens when the family returns home, forms the crux of this story.

Charlie and the Catmas Tree by Cindy L. Shirley and Emerson Cochran falls halfway between being a picture book and a reader, with pages of text being interspersed with full pages of color illustrations. The target market that is given for the work is, consequently, a fairly broad one. Being billed as an “amusing Christmas book,” the story tells of much more than just that. The sense of deep family care about and for one another that marks a joyful home radiates warmth throughout the work, in addition to the narration being done in a light-hearted way. Any child who appreciates animals and who has ever longed to have a pet of their own will be able to relate to this story. A must for all savorers of warm scenes of domestic bliss!