Once again, you canít find the wrapping paper.

You thought it was where you put it when you bought it last January, but itís not there. You found the tape where it shouldnít have been and the ribbons were somewhere else, but the wrapping paper is nowhere to be found.

You know, of course, that as soon as you find it, the scissors will be missing. Itís all a part of the holidays, this wrapping lost-and-found you do every year. But in the new book The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas by Julia Romp, some losses are worse than others.

Julia Romp was definitely not looking for a cat.

She already had her hands full. She and her 10-year-old son had just moved into a cute little cottage, life was settling down and Romp was looking forward to having a nice garden.

No, a cat didnít figure in the plans. But then George spied the moggy.

When he was born, George didnít act like other babies. As a single mother, Romp had dreamed of a cuddly newborn to love, but George did little but scream and fight her hugs. As he grew, he became distant, uncommunicative, unable to make social connections and was given to unpredictable rages.

She took George to doctor after doctor, but no one had solid answers until finally, an understanding teacher recognized that George wasnít merely naughty. He was autistic.

Romp tried to muddle through. And then came the afternoon when they spied a scraggly black-and-white kitten.

Soft-hearted Romp took the animal to the veterinarian and when no one claimed it, she agreed to ďjust visitĒ it. But when George peered into the cage, the most amazing thing happened: he started to talk to the cat.

For boy and cat, it was love from then on. Ben (also known as Baboo) was Georgeís constant companion, which opened Georgeís imagination and his world. He began responding to his family, making friends and having lengthy conversations. Romp was elated; it was as if a new boy lived in Georgeís skin. But then Ben went missing. George was devastated and he lashed out at his helpless mother, who vowed to find his cat, no matter what.

And what it took was a Christmas miracle.

Trying to get into the holiday mood? The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas can help, but not till the end.

In the meantime, though, youíll be treated to a cat loverís dream book. Author Julia Romp, who says she ďnever got on at school,Ē does a fine job in sharing her story, her sonís and that of a beloved cat. Thereís also a sprinkling of humor in her tale, a whole lot of maternal love and a nice feel-good between these pages.

I think youíll like that.

Be aware that there are Britishisms in this book that may be hard to understand, but not overtly so. Just ignore them, sit back and enjoy. This holiday, this read is a sweet book to get lost in.

The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas by Julia Romp

c. 2012, Plume, $15, 274 pages