Review of “Kitten’s First Full Moon”

Henkes, Kevin. Kitten’s First Full Moon. Greenwillow Books, 2004. ISBN: 0-06-058829-2

Kitten sees a big bowl of milk, just waiting for her, up in the sky. Despite her efforts she cannot reach it. She tries to lick the bowl, she tries to climb the tree for the bowl, she even sees the bowl in the pond below her. Still, she never gets to the milk. She only gets bugs on her tongue, bumps on her nose and becomes sad, wet and tired. Eventually, when she finally gives up and goes home, she finds her bowl of milk just waiting for her on the porch.

As a picture book, I found this interesting that it is not in color. The story is very cute and the way it reads is quite entertaining. Still, there is only simple art work that gives you focus into the story. There’s not too much detail in the wording or the pictures to distract you from the basic tale of Kitten. As a character, Kitten serves as credible and convincing as a personality. The plot is simple and Kitten’s motivation is believable. What would a kitten think if it took notice of the moon? It may very well think that it is a bowl of milk. The illustrations work with this characterization and plot because without the words, you could still look at the pictures and know what was happening in the story. I enjoyed this book very much and would like to purchase it for my own collection.

This book has won the Caldecott medal. School Library Journal (April 01, 2004) review states, “Done in a charcoal and cream-colored palette, the understated illustrations feature thick black outlines, pleasing curves, and swiftly changing expressions that are full of nuance. The rhythmic text and delightful artwork ensure storytime success. Kids will surely applaud this cat’s irrepressible spirit. Pair this tale with Frank Asch’s classic Moongame (S & S, 1987) and Nancy Elizabeth Wallace’s The Sun, the Moon and the Stars (Houghton, 2003) for nocturnal celebrations.” I would like this kind of book to be used at Storytime in the library for such themed activities. For the craft to go along with the book, we could make cats out of paper plates and googly eyes (as you would when making the fish for “under the sea” themes Storytimes.) FamilyTLC.net suggests that for comprehension strategies, children can be asked what the moon looks like in real life in comparison with the cover. Then as the children read, ask them what the moon looks like to them. After reading, children can be asked what other things they see in the night sky and what other objects they may seem to look like as well.

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