Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2005 Caldecott Medal

Kitten's First Full Moon

by Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henke’s story about a kitten who mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk is delightful. The idea for this book was taken from another of Henkes’ books which contained a line referring to a cat, the moon, and a bowl of milk. The kitten is fearless, curious, swift, and determined in her quest to get the bowl of milk. Unfortunately, the kitten soon becomes soaked, miserable, exhausted, and starved! But once she returns home, there is a bowl of milk waiting for her.

The message of this book for young readers is to always keep trying. The simple text and straightforward illustrations balance each other nicely. The use of repetitive phrases lends itself to responsive read alouds in which listeners can interact with the book.Like many of Henkes’ tales little readers will be able to identify with the kitten and her persistent and mischievous efforts to get to the milk.

What I like about this book is its simplicity both in text and in pictures. Although I am not a “cat person” (I love dogs!), I can still appreciate and enjoy the way that Henkes captures the true, real-life nature of a cat. Although Henkes chose not to name the kitten, he has stated that he “secretly thinks of his heroine as Claire”.

This children’s book demonstrates that a timely lesson can be presented in a small number of pages. The little kitten is another one of Henkes’ courageous characters who children will love.

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