Many cats bring in small furry or feathery offerings from the garden and so it is here with Alfie the marmalade cat. His offering looks harmless enough while it’s lying in a near comatose state on the rug; but when it wakes, it becomes growly and decidedly unfriendly. Efforts to rid themselves of the thing are useless, it keeps on coming back in and by the spring, the Creature has become part of the family, albeit a rather whiffy one, with odd dietary requirements and a habit of nocturnal wanderings. Come the autumn it seems that the Creature is busy doing something on the top bunk but then things go decidedly quiet. By Christmas time the children have all but forgotten the newest addition to their family but on Christmas Eve night something is astir up on that top bunk.
Helen Bates’ rhyming narrative romps along gently, following the rhythm of Clement Clark Moore’s The Night Before Christmas and culminating in a surprise finale. Her bright, detailed illustrations have a whimsical touch and beautifully portray the children’s feelings about the purple Creature and his antics.