Book Reviews

So many books. So little time.

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

What could be more appropriate for a nighttime story than the colors black and white? Black for the darkness, white for the light of the moon, Kitten's first full moon. Kitten may not know what that is, but Kevin Henkes does not want to make it a straight black-and-white story of not knowing. There is all the learning Kitten goes through. So the pictures are not just black-and-white either. There is the gray shading that adds depth and richness to the book.

Thick black line drawing, bold black sans-serif letters. Perfect for the young reader. A big glowing moon but no stars. What a clever touch: starlight is replaced by the light of the fireflies. That is something Kitten may be familiar with and a definite talking point for the new reader. Kitten opens her mouth and licks. And ends up with a bug on her tongue. Poor Kitten.

"Still, there was the little bowl of milk, just waiting." The refrain becomes familiar to the reader, like a tease to Kitten. After every description of Kitten's misstep the reader knows the page turn will bring the sentence "Still, there was the little bowl of milk, just waiting," and soon will be shouting it out aloud.

That pesky moon. Kitten chases it down the sidewalk, through the garden, past the field, and by the pond, but doesn't seem to get any closer. Does she give up? No. Her eyes grow wide as saucers as she realizes she has missed again, and that saucer-eyes picture is like a marker telling the reader that Kitten has reached the end of that particular misadventure. But Kitten just brushes herself off, and keeps on going. She climbs the tallest tree in sight. Still far from the bowl of milk but wait-from that high vantage point she sees in the pond an even bigger bowl of milk. Jump. Splash. Poor Kitten. Wet, bedraggled, sad, tired and hungry she makes her way back home.

And there, waiting for her is "a great big bowl of milk on the porch."

Lucky Kitten.

The adventure didn't turn out to be so bad after all. Kitten returns to a bowl of milk in her home and the moon gets to stay in its home. All's well that ends well.

Title: Kitten's First Full Moon

Author: Kevin Henkes

Illustrator: Kevin Henkes

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Hardback: 30 pages

ISBN: 0-06-058829-2