The Barnes & Noble Review
New York Timesbestselling 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
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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)