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Kitten's First Full Moon

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Overview

The nationally bestselling picture book about a kitten, the moon, and a bowl of milk, written by the celebrated author and illustrator Kevin Henkes, was awarded a Caldecott Medal.

From one of the most celebrated and beloved picture book creators working in the field today comes a memorable new character and a suspenseful adventure just right for reading and sharing at home and in the classroom. It is Kitten's first full moon, and when she sees it she thinks it is a bowl of milk ...

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Overview

The nationally bestselling picture book about a kitten, the moon, and a bowl of milk, written by the celebrated author and illustrator Kevin Henkes, was awarded a Caldecott Medal.

From one of the most celebrated and beloved picture book creators working in the field today comes a memorable new character and a suspenseful adventure just right for reading and sharing at home and in the classroom. It is Kitten's first full moon, and when she sees it she thinks it is a bowl of milk in the sky. And she wants it. Does she get it? Well, no . . . and yes. What a night!

A brief text, large type, and luminescent pictures play second fiddle to the star of this classic picture book—brave, sweet and lucky Kitten! "Henkes's text, reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's work in the elemental words, rhythms, and appealing sounds, tells a warm, humorous story that's beautifully extended in his shimmering, gray-toned artwork."—ALA Booklist

Winner of the Caldecott Medal, an ALA Notable Book, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, and winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Winner of the 2005 Caldecott Medal

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
New York Times–bestselling author-illustrator Kevin Henkes delivers this lovable modern classic about a kitten who mistakes the full moon for milk.

Illustrated black-and-white (and in a remarkably different style from previous Henkes favorites like Wemberly Worried and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse), this picture book follows Kitten as she attempts to get a sweet drink of that "little bowl of milk in the sky." As the moon glows overhead, Kitten first sticks out her tongue for a lick but gets a mouth full of firefly; tries leaping at the moon, only to take a tumble down the porch stairs; and then chases it, of course to no avail. But after climbing a tree gets her soaking wet, Kitten trots back home and finds a lucky surprise "just waiting for her."

Brilliant in its simplicity, Kitten's quiet little adventure is a perfect picture book that kids will eagerly lap up. The author's breathtaking gouache and shaded pencil artwork (with its thick black lines and masterful use of grays and white space) casts a nighttime coolness on the illustrations -- which, paired with easy text, results in a real warmhearted winner with a retro feel. Without a doubt, Kitten's debut is a must-have for every bookshelf. Matt Warner

The Washington Post
Henkes's black-and-white drawings (the colors of night, moon and milk) have an Asian subtlety and simplicity -- appropriately enough for a moon-obsessed cat. "What a night!" Kitten concludes. What a picture book! — Elizabeth Ward
The New York Times
In the classic children's-book convention, the story is succinctly told, pared down to a beginning, a middle and the end. The pictures fit the words perfectly, with equal amounts of simplicity and charm. As the title implies, there are two stars in this story: the moon, which doubles as a bowl of milk, and Kitten.—Karla Kuskin
From The Critics
Poor kitten! Thinking the full moon is a bowl of milk, she tries everything to reach it. But pursuing its reflection in a pond brings a soggy surprise. Children will giggle over the kitty's misguided efforts, rendered so expressively in shades of black, white, and gray. (Ages 2 to 4)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2004
Publishers Weekly
From their first glimpse of the title character, licking her front paw on the cover illustration, youngsters will find the star of Henkes's (Wemberly Worried) fetchingly simple story quite irresistible. When Kitten spies her first full moon, she thinks, "There's a little bowl of milk in the sky. And she wanted it." Yet when she closes her eyes and stretches her neck to lick the milk, Kitten instead ends up with a bug on her tongue. Next, she springs for the moon from the porch, and tumbles down the steps. Henkes's minimal narrative underscores the feline's drama with a refrain that encourages young listeners to chime in, "Poor Kitten!" After each such refrain, a white spread with a spot illustration of the kitten in the bottom left corner and the full moon in the upper right corner emphasize the feline's impossible dream: "Still, there was the little bowl of milk, just waiting." Horizontal scenes of Kitten's "chase" and vertical panels of the feline's climb up a tree to reach her prize make cinematic use of the spreads, rendered in variegated hues of black and white, in gouache and colored pencil. After all her trials, her own bowl of milk is waiting for her at home. The narrative and visual pacing will keep children entranced, and the determined young heroine and her comical quest will win them over. Ages 3-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-K-An irresistible offering from the multifaceted Henkes. The spare and suspense-filled story concerns a kitten that mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk. When she opens her mouth to lick the treat, she ends up with a bug on her tongue. Next, she launches herself into the air, paws reaching out for the object of her desire, only to tumble down the stairs, "bumping her nose and banging her ear and pinching her tail. Poor Kitten." Again and again, the feline's persistent attempts to reach her goal lead to pain, frustration, and exhaustion. Repetitive phrases introduce each sequence of desire, action, and consequence, until the animal's instincts lead her home to a satisfying resolution. 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.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a surprisingly new guise, Henkes turns his hand for his 34th book to a retro look, with rough-hewn, black-and-white illustrations that pair perfectly with this deceptively simply story. When Kitten mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk, she ends up tired, wet, and hungry trying to reach it. The coarse but masterfully controlled line with heavy black outlines contains vigor and exuberance, creating a spontaneous feeling. A keen sense of design uses double spreads and panels to depict the action and Kitten's puzzlement. Some spreads are almost all white space with dark shadows outlining Kitten and the moon. The style is reminiscent of Clare Newberry (Marshmallow, April's Kittens) without soft, fuzzy shapes, but artful in its gracelessness and naivete, just like a kitten. Simply charming. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060588281
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/2/2004
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 16,788
  • Age range: 2 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: 360L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.06 (w) x 10.48 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Biography

Kevin Henkes still owns some of his favorite books from childhood. "They're brimming with all the telltale signs of true love: dog-eared pages, fingerprints on my favorite illustrations, my name and address inscribed on both front and back covers in inch-high lettering, and the faint smell of stale peanut butter on the bindings," he says in an interview on his web site.

Back in his peanut-butter sandwich days, Henkes dreamed of becoming an artist. By high school, he had combined his love of drawing with a newfound interest in writing, and at age 19, he took his portfolio to New York City in hopes of finding a publisher. Young Henkes returned home from his weeklong trip with a contract from Greenwillow Books, and he's worked as a children's writer and illustrator ever since.

Henkes's style has evolved over the years to include more humor, more whimsy and a lot more mice. Though he began illustrating his picture books with realistic drawings of children, he's since developed a recurring cast of mouse characters rendered in a more cartoon-like style -- though with a range of expressions that make the spirited Lilly, anxious Wemberly, fearless Sheila Rae and sensitive Chrysanthemum into highly believable heroines. Owen, the story of a little mouse who isn't ready to give up his tattered security blanket, won a Caldecott Honor Medal for its winsome watercolor-and-ink illustrations.

Many of Henkes's mouse books deal with such common childhood ordeals as starting school, being teased and getting lost. Chrysanthemum, about a mouse whose new schoolmates tease her about her name, was inspired by Henkes's own feelings when he started school. "The book is about family, and how starting something new and going out into the world can be very hard," he told an interviewer for The Five Owls. "I remember going to kindergarten -- my grandfather had a beautiful rose garden, and he gave me the last roses of the season to bring to the kindergarten teacher the next day. I don't even remember how it happened, but an older kid took these flowers from me on the playground, and I remember coming home, feeling awful." As a grown-up, Henkes is able to translate difficult childhood transitions into stories that are both honest and reassuring. In a review of Chrysanthemum, Kirkus Reviews noted: "Henkes's language and humor are impeccably fresh, his cozy illustrations sensitive and funny, his little asides to adults an unobtrusive delight."

Henkes has also written novels for older children, in which he "explores family relationships with breathtaking tenderness" (Publisher's Weekly). In The Birthday Room, for example, a twelve-year-old boy learns the reason for his mother's long estrangement from her brother, and helps effect a reconciliation. "Refreshingly, Henkes has given us a male protagonist who is reflective, creative and emotionally sensitive," wrote Karen Leggett in The New York Times Book Review. "Ben feels the anguish of his mother's long-simmering bitterness and his uncle's agonizing guilt. Yet at a time when it is almost a fad to blame dysfunctional families for problems, we learn that even though there are never simple answers and not many fairy-tale endings, families can heal."

Though his novels are more complex and serious than his picture books, all Henkes's works suggest an author with deep empathy for the intense emotions of childhood. As a Publisher's Weekly reviewer wrote, "Behind each book is a wide-open heart, one readers can't help but respond to, that makes all of Henkes's books of special value to children."

Good To Know

Henkes's wife, Laura Dronzek, is also an artist. She painted the cover illustration for Henkes' novel Sun and Spoon and illustrated his picture book Oh!.

Henkes has turned down requests to use his mouse characters in a television series, but some of his books are available in video form in Chrysanthemum and More Kevin Henkes Stories. The video's narrators include Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mary Beth Hurt.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse has been adapted into a stage play.

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    1. Hometown:
      Madison, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 27, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Racine, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin, Madison
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

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(34)

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(19)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2008

    What A Night Indeed!

    This a great little book for all cat lovers. The adorable kitten is having the night of her life. The black and white pictures add to the theme of the night. What a loveable, fun story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Must check it out!!!!!

    The adventure of the kitten is a great example of a child's curiosity. It's a reminder of how pure and innocent children are at this age and how wild their imaginations can be. By having the pictures in black and white the readers is given a more in deep look through the kitten's eyes. The illustrations also show how in a child mind everything is either black or white and there is no in between. I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    Highly Recommend!

    Praise for Kitten! Super cute story about a curious and courageous kitten that is desperate to get her paws on that big bowl of milk in the sky that is actually a full moon. I love Henkes' repetition of "poor Kitty" to convey what a struggleKitten is going through to just get nourishment. And what a night! Kitten is hungry and persistent and very unlucky in trying to reach her ultimate goal. This is a great story about how one's persistence can truly get them what they want. Children of all ages will definitely relate to this as they know they'll eventually get what they want if they try hard enough. It's a great lesson and fabulous story. Kitten truly captured my heart.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2010

    Cute story about importance of perseverance.

    I initially bought this for my three year old daughter as a birthday gift and it is now one of her favorite books. The story is very simple but conveys lessons about disappointment and the rewards that can come (sometimes belatedly) from trying your hardest. The illustrations are beautifully done and very adorable. My six year old son (who loves Star Wars and super heroes and other "cool" stuff) will even sit through it when we read it together. I have since bought other copies as birthday gifts for girls in my daughter's preschool class. I would definitely recommend it, especially for preschool-age girls (or even boys).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2007

    Milk in the sky

    This is a funny book that tells of a kitten that mistakes the moon for milk, much like many kids mistake the moon for cheese.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2013

    Where to start -- What a book! The illustrations are simple, bla

    Where to start -- What a book! The illustrations are simple, black and white, and oh-so-expressive. The story is simple, easy-to-follow, and oh-so-engaging. While "Kitten" is a completely different story, it reminded me of everything I loved about Sendak's "Where The Wild Things Are". Best of all, "Kitten" is the perfect length book to read to my toddler at bedtime.
    What's not to love? -- What a book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Great book for young cat lovers!

    Great book for young cat lovers. The pictures (all black and white) are timeless.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    A friend of mine sent me this and this story and my thoughts are

    A friend of mine sent me this and this story and my thoughts are is that; it's the most simplest yet has the most powerful meaning behind it. To me this book can be used to encourage not only a young child's perspective of how when you think you have done all you can do, you really have not, keep going for it, because what you seek is just around the corner. This is true for as adults too. I love this story and I will never forget.

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  • Posted September 23, 2012

    Kitten¿s First Full Moon was a unique yet highly delightful stor

    Kitten’s First Full Moon was a unique yet highly delightful story. It isn’t often that we see a book written and illustrated in only black and white, but I think it really stands out and from the traditional colored illustrations and really caught my attention.
    Kitten’s First Full Moon is about a tiny, young kitten that is experiencing her first full moon, but has no clue what it is. Kitten graciously has mistaken the moon for a big bowl of milk, something she is familiar with. Kitten, with determination, tries everything possible to reach that big bowl of ‘milk’ (the moon).

    After reading this story I can clearly see why it won the 2005 Caldecott Award for its illustrations, the pictures were captivating yet easy for children to reproduce. This story really represents that of a child’s curiosity. With the easy reproducible pictures, children will enjoy trying to draw the pictures and creating their own story. Overall, this was a fun, cute and enjoyable read.

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  • Posted December 7, 2011

    for all the cat lovers

    This is a very cute story about a determined little kitty. My daughter loves cats and she loves this story about this little kitty's adventures.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    You'll Love This Kitten

    Illustrated to draw your child's attention and written to appeal to their young senses, this book a destined to become a classic. Endearing and utterly readable, over and over again.

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    Kitten's First Full Moon

    I love Kevin Henkes and the way he looks at the world! This book is simple yet full of life. A sweet story and comforting lesson in coming home.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    Flight of Imagination

    This book is quite entertaining - it was read at a children's story time. The children loved how the kitty was trying to reach for the 'milk' to find at the end the result may be disappointing but a surprise may happen for the hard work in trying to achieve the goal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2009

    A favorite night after night

    children will love the adventure this thirsty little kitten goes on to get to his bowl of milk

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2009

    This is the sweetest book I have read to my 3 y.o. grandson or his siblings when they were 3.

    This simple little story is perfect for holding the attention of an active 3 year old. It offers opportunities during reading for inflecting the mood of the Poor Kitten who just wants to drink her milk. It repeats certain short phrases so that the child can anticipate what's coming after the first read and then interject those phrases at just the right time, if given the opportunity. Each time I read this book to him, we remove the book cover and replace it when we are finished and my grandson treats this book as if it was very special ... and it is.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    So Cute!

    I got this for my 7 year old daughter. What a wonderful book! Not only does she love reading it herself but she loves to have me or her dad read it to her at bed time. A definite must for any child that loves kittens.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    Beautiful Illustration.

    The book is illustrated using only black and white. And is still interesting to look at. My 3 year old loves this book. The story is as cute as the pictures.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    The determined kitten and the BIG bowl of milk in the sky

    Kitten wants the bowl of milk in the sky and spends all night trying to get it. It's adorably drawn with a huge range of emotions easily recognizable in kitten's expressions. It's a fun story to read aloud. My two year old loves it, although he was a little worried about poor kitten for a while...but now he's okay. The black and white didn't seem to bother him at all--and it's great for a kid like him who likes both the moon and cats!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2007

    Cute kitten!!!

    I was very pleased with this adorable story of the little kitten who thinks that the moon is a bowl of milk. Will he ever really know if the moon is milk? Read the book and find out more about this loveable story! Henkes, Kevin. Kittens First Full Moon. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 2004

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2007

    Review

    Kevin Henkes lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Kitten¿s First Full Moon is his thirty-fourth book for children. His novels include the Newbery Honor Book Olive¿s Ocean. He won Caldecott Honor Book for Owen, and won the 2005 Caldecott Medal for Kitten¿s First Full Moon. It was Kitten¿s first full moon. She thought that it was a little bowl of milk in the sky, and she wanted it. She made several attempts at jumping to reach the moon, but was unsuccessful. She chased it and even climbed the tallest tree she could find to reach it. While in the tree, she saw a big bowl of milk in the pond. She climbed out of the tree, raced to the edge of the pond, and leaped with all her might. Kitten only ended up wet, so she went home without her bowl of milk. When she got home, she found something waiting for her on the porch.

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