Monday, September 13, 2010

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes


Henkes, Kevin. 2004. Kitten’s First Full Moon. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books. ISBN 0060588284

Plot Summary

Kitten is a hungry cat with a persistent personality. After seeing her first full moon, she is convinced that it is a little bowl in the sky and she wants it. Kitten tries many times to reach the bowl in the sky with no success. In the end, this very unlucky kitten returns home to a little luck. What a night it turns out to be!

Critical Analysis

Kevin Henkes introduces us to a character named Kitten that is one any person, young or old, can relate to. True to the curiosity of a cat, Kitten sees a bowl of milk in the sky when she looks at her first full moon. Children experiencing the story can relate to the feeling of confusion when experiencing something for the first time. Adults can relate to the trial and error we all experienced and learned from.

The plot of Kitten’s First Full Moon is one that is simple, but easily followed by the intended audience. The reader is taken on a journey of trial and error while Kitten seeks the bowl in the sky. It is a predictable book that lends itself well to lessons on predicting and problem solving, leaving the reader with a satisfied feeling when kitten is granted her wish.

Kevin Henkes’ illustrations depict a quiet, country setting, instilling a sense of calmness in the reader as they go on an adventure with kitten. By not building up the surrounding area the reader is left to focus on the main character and the trial and error she goes through while searching for her bowl of milk. With a lack of setting development, the reader focuses on the illustrations of Kitten herself, experiencing her emotions which are so well drawn.

I would believe the underlying theme in Kitten’s first full moon would be “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.” The story demonstrates to readers of a young age that despite the heartache and hurt of trying and failing more than once, sticking to it may end up with a reward in the end, even if it isn’t what you’ve first set out to accomplish.

Kevin Henkes wrote this story in a clear, concise style. There is no dialogue, little punctuation and a vocabulary a young reader can relate to. While the writing is simplistic, the reader still gets a feeling for the personality of Kitten as she “wiggled her bottom and sprang from the top step of the porch.” The reader is instantly ready for an adventure with a inquisitive, active kitten.

Review Excepts

Winner of the 2005 Caldecott Medal

“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…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.” –School Library Journal

“Henkes creates another winner with this simple, charming story about a naive kitten who mistakes a round, shining moon for a bowl of milk. Henkes' elemental words and rhythms work beautifully with his shimmering artwork in bold black lines and a silvery palette of moonlight, which captures the excitement of a nighttime adventure and creates a lovable, expressive, determined kitten.” -Booklist


Kitten’s First Full Moon- Hundred’s chart Lesson
Kitten’s First Full Moon- Descriptive sentence lesson

Other Books by Kevin Henkes
-All Alone
-Bailey Goes Camping
-Goodbye Curtis
-Julius: The Baby of the World

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