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No crib for a cat

For teachers desperate for a different take on the traditional Christmas play, Cat in the Manger by Michael Foreman (Andersen Press pound;9.99) could be a lifeline.

The Nativity is seen through the eyes of the stable's resident moggy. The cat is not keen on its housemates - paticularly the donkeys - and becomes extremely uppity when turned out of the manger.

Foreman's narrative illustrations are beautifully atmospheric, bringing the story's drama to the fore as they pan across double pages. A touch sentimental, but a pleasing book.

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