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Book Review: Kitten’s First Full Moon, by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books, 2004)

kittens-first-full-moonRecommended for ages 2-5

An adorable kitten sees her first full moon. Believing it is a saucer of milk, she sets out to have a taste. Her curiosity leads her on a series of misadventures where she ends up with bugs on her tongue, hurt from a leap off the porch, and soaking wet from a dive into a pond. The 2005 Caldecott Medal winner places Kitten’s actions in a repetitive series: she sees the moon and wants to drink from it; she takes an action and deals with the consequences; and the moon – referred to as the “little bowl of milk” – waits for her next move. Will Kitten learn from her mistakes? Kevin Henkes uses a charcoal and cream-colored palette, with simple, understated illustrations outlined in thick, black line, to tell his tale, and Kitten’s face is very expressive. The brief text on each page is simple, bold, and black; it causes no distraction for young readers and listeners. Preschoolers will see themselves in the tenacious Kitten, who is single-minded in her goal.

The repetitive actions of the story and its happy resolution make this book a good choice for a story time read aloud. This could be part of a moon stories read aloud with companion books like Bringing Down the Moon by Jonathan Emmett, which tells a similar tale. There are moon rhymes and fingerplays that can flesh out this story time.

The author’s website offers teaching resources for parents and educators.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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