Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes Picture Book Review (Unit 2)


Henkes, Kevin. Kitten’s First Full Moon. Google Images.


Henkes, Kevin. Kitten’s First Full Moon. USA: Harper Collins, 2004. ISBN 0060588292

Plot Summary:

When Kitten saw the full moon, she thought it was a bowl of milk. Her journey to retrieve the milk leaves her tired, wet, and hungry, but her struggles are not in vain. This cute story is about determination and the lengths we go to to fulfill our needs.

Critical Analysis:

This book got a lot of things right. First of all, it’s fun to read, even for adults. This is one book that you can read to your child/students/charge without getting board or dreading storytime. I highly recommend this one, if only for the sake of the adult doing the reading.

The illustrations are lovely. The lack of color didn’t take anything away from the story at all. In all black and white, these pictures are beautifully drawn. The lines are dark and thick, which gives a lovely contrast to Kitten, the moon, and everything else. It seems fitting that this midnight adventure is all in black and white.

The text is really well written. The author did a good job at telling the adventure. The words used a simplistic, so a child learning to read independently can read this with minimal effort. Henkes does a great job with the descriptions (using “sprang” rather than “jumped”.) The story is easy to read and remains entertaining throughout. You truly feel everything that Kitten has to go through and sympathize with Kitten. The ending is absolutely precious.

The moral of the story is that sometimes we mistake things for the things we want. We go through all the trouble to get it just to find out that it’s not what we thought. Now this seems like a downer, but usually when that happens, we find out that there’s something waiting for us on the other side of the experience, which might just be where you started from, just never ever give up on it. This is a deep moral to a story, but one that will stick with children. I loved it!

Review Excerpts:

From School Library Journal: 

“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.”

From Kirkus Review

“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.”

Kitten’s First Full Moon was the recipient of the Caldecott Medal in 2005.


Related Books:

The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster ISBN 0786809140

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson ISBN 0547577699

On the Moon by Anna Milbourne ISBN 0794506178

Other books by Kevin Henkes:

Chrysanthemum ISBN 0688147321

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse ISBN 0688128971

Wemberly Worried ISBN 0061857769

Enrichment Activities:

Pinterest is a lovely place to find all kinds of activities.

A great activity for any age range is to make a paper plate kitten. Cut the ears, make the whiskers from pipe cleaners, and let the kids draw the face. This is a fun craft for the classroom or storytime at the library!


Published by

Adrinna Davis

Hello there! Not much to me, I'm just your average author and librarian who is obsessed with Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Divergent, ect... who is married with two kids. :) And now blogger. I love children's lit and want to share with you all the amazing books I find!

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