Monday, March 19, 2007

Kitten's First Full Moon - Books by Kevin Henkes

Picture Source:

Kevin Henkes is a terrific author with an array of wonderful books to his credit. We love the characters he creates, usually mice! My 4 yr old daughter, K, and I have read several of his books - Chrysanthemum, Jessica and our all-time favorite "Kitten's First Full Moon".

His picture books usually deal with problems that children face in the outside world - be it in schools, neighborhoods etc. His stories feature mice representing little children, and the illustrations are cartoonish -- basically, they talk and act like kids covered in fur, tail and ears. However, not all of his books deal with mice! There is one with a little kitten in it, and the kitten is irresistible and absolultely, positively, perfectly adorable!

"Kitten's First Full Moon" is a beautiful picture book that won the 2005 Caldecott Medal awarded by the Association for Library Service for the best Children's picture book every year.

We have thoroughly enjoyed reading Kitten's First Full Moon, which is a tender tale about a kitten who mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk. Kitten embarks on a journey to lick the moon crossing fields, garden, but eventually returns without quite understanding why she couldn't get to lick it! Although she couldn't figure things out, she comes back home tired, wet and hungry only to find an actual bowl of milk waiting on the porch! Isn't that a cute story? I couldn't resist the tempation to pick from where Tharini left, the "kitten" theme. I still have that sweet aftertaste of a wonderful kitten story she left us with!

Coming back to "Kitten's First Full Moon", children will certainly empathize and chuckle at the kitten's antics as she tries to lick the moon that is faraway! In the process, gets stung by a bug on her tongue, falls down the stairs! The best part of the text is when the narrator repeats "Poor Kitten!" and "Still, there was the little bowl of milk, just waiting." This story is a sure winner in the hearts of little ones who can put themselves in the kitten's shoes(paws!) and imagine themselves on the adventure with little kitten. The author has made the Kitten's quest a funny and amusing story. Like all Kevin Henkes' stories, this one has a happy ending too! The narrative ends as "Lucky Kitten!"

Afer reading the book, my daughter and I continued our discussion about the kitten's imagination - we talked about what are the things we thought looked like something we knew, but in actuality turned out be something else. I had to confess to her my silly imaginations - when I was little I used to think waves in the ocean when they got really frothy as they hit the shore looked to me like milk. She came up with clouds reminding her of cotton candy, and she always wanted to lick them off just like the kitten! SO SWEET! Another very silly confession of mine to my daughter was, I told her, for some reason, when I was little I used to think planes were toothpastes flying high in the sky! She had such a good laugh over her Mom's immature imaginations!:-)

But, please do read Kitten's First Full Moon, if you can get hold of the book because this book is lot of fun and will evoke lots of LOLs. The illustrations are black and white adding to the innocence and simplicity of this book.

Kevin Henkes stories usually end with a positive and upbeat note leaving the main character to feel good about who they are or what they do. We have read some of his other books - Chrysanthemum and Jessica. Chrysanthemum is about a little mouse(girl) who gets teased in kindergarten because she is named after a flower. The story offers an important message for little ones to not tease others and treat everyone respectfully.

The other book we've read is Jessica. I didn't really care much for Jessica although my daughter does enjoy the book for its illustrations and simple text. It's about a little girl named Ruthie who has no sibling or a pet chooses to have an imaginary friend named Jessica. It was not a relevant book for my daughter because she doesn't have an imaginary friend. At least so far, she has voiced her fears openly without any hesitation rather than choose to vent her fears through an imaginary friend. If you know of a child who has an imaginary friend, they should definitely read this book. It is yet another sensitive and tender story by Kevin Henkes


sathish said...



Did you get a chance to lay hands on this years caldecott winner?

Sadly, I can never find any of these books in Bangalore..

Praba Ram said...

Hi Sathish -

I haven't checked this year's winner - Flotsam and Gone Wild are the two I remember reading about. Will definitely check sometime.

I know it's sad you don't get these books in Bangalore. IMay be, leading publishers such as Scholastic and Penguin will start distributing books like these soon... Some of their books have won Caldecott...


Tharini said...

Wow Praba...only now did I actually get around to reading this review and this is my belated comment. Just loved the ound of this book. Its a sure fire top runner on my list on what to bring home next.

Thanks for this sweet and cute reco. I have already fallen in love with the lucky kitten even before seeing her!

B o o said...

Hi Praba, Wanted to wish a very happy birthday to your daughter S and also inform you about linking you at But Boy, you dont have your email id in any of your blogs, do you? I searched higha nd low! ;) Do mail me at boobabytalk at gmail dot com.

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