TITLE: Kitten's First Full Moon
AUTHOR + ILLUSTRATOR: Kevin Henkes
PUBLISHED BY: Greenwillow Books, 2004
I'm not going to lie to you: I am a cat person. And I really don't see how anyone can deny the utter cuteness of kittens. Especially Kevin Henkes' Kitten in his 2004 Caldecott Honor Book, Kitten's First Full Moon.
Henkes' books are dependably good: charming, well illustrated, with adorable story-lines. And this is my very favorite of his--about a kitten who mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk.
Well...actually, first the kitten thinks firefly's are edible, and is sadly mistaken (see left illustration). Then she sees the moon, full and round and white like a bowl of milk. She chases it, but it never comes any closer (remember that magical feeling when we were kids? We'd be driving down the road, and the moon would never come closer, no matter how far we went!). Finally, when she climbs up a tree to catch it, she sees its reflection in a pond. Joyfully, she dives down, and, of course, gets soaked. Luckily, as she trots back home, sad and wet, her owners give her a bowl of milk to enjoy.
Needless to say: all these mishaps are pretty adorable when Kevin Henkes is the one illustrating them. His drawing is almost like a comic in its simplicity; he expresses an entire range of emotions with a few brush strokes. (This comic-strip characteristic is enhanced by the black and white color scheme, and his framing of events in think black panels.) His kitten is in turns curious, confident, on the hunt, surprised, and...wet (there is nothing sadder than a wet kitten).
My edition of the book is in Spanish, so I cannot quote it for you, but never mind all that. The story--which is essentially about learning through experience--is told mostly by the pictures. The illustrations I show here ought to be enough to encourage you to purchase or borrow the book. This little kitten will tickle your kid's imaginations, and delight their hearts.
(Read Henkes own thoughts about composing this book here.)
* Why in Spanish, you ask? Well, thanks to everyone who purchased books from The LLB Bookshop this Christmas, I was able to purchase a number of books for a mission library in Honduras, called La Biblioteca de la Florcita, including this book. If you would like to learn more about the Biblioteca, click here. Also, you can donate to the project through their Amazon Wish List or through The Missioners of Christ website.