Citation: Henkes, K. (2004). Kitten’s first full moon. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.
Summary: Kitten sees a bright night moon and thinks it is a bowl of delicious milk. This begins her adventure of trying to reach that bowl of milk as she leaps off the porch. Kitten even climbs a tree to try to reach the creamy looking bowl of milk. But with no such luck, kitten’s efforts are not successful and she returns home sadden. Wait, that’s not the end of the story, she does find success upon her return home…she discovers a bowl of milk on her porch ready for her to consume.
Impression: Peace, Love and a Definite Read!
I love this book because you always want to see a one succeed after trying so hard to get something one wants so badly. Being that this story is told in beautiful black and white illustrations, it makes me feel peace while reading about Kitten’s nighttime adventure. I have read and re-read this book many times and have enjoyed reading it with my class and own son. It is a story that involves a good lesson of one’s determination ending with one being rewarded with cute funny moments and moments of sadness. But overall, you have to read it again to get that warm fuzzy feeling of being happy because of Kitten’s success.
Reviews: 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.
Lukehart, W. (2004). Kitten's first full moon. School Library Journal, 50(4), 114. Available from
Henkes takes a break from his signature mice — and from illustrating in color — to tell this sweet story about a kitten who thinks the full moon is a bowl of milk. The black-and-white forms, with subtle gradations of gray, are larger and more solid-looking than Henkes's usual work, with less interior line. Nevertheless, the kitten, whose white fur glows against the charcoal-gray sky like the moon she desires, is sprightly and expressive as she fails repeatedly ("Poor Kitten!") to get at that milk. Small children, for whom the rhythmic, action-oriented text is just right, will appreciate the gentle slapstick of the kitten getting a firefly on her tongue when she tries to lick the moon and getting drenched in the pond when she tries to drink the moon's reflection. Anyone who has ever watched a cat spasmodically pounce and chase for no apparent reason will enjoy the imaginative, unpretentiously poetic method Henkes reads into this madness.
Heppermann, C. M. (2004). Kitten's first full moon. Horn Book Magazine, 80(3), 314-315.
Use in Library: -This book would be great to use when doing a Caldecott unit or perhaps an author’s study. Another suggestion would be to use this as a supplement reading for a unit on space for early elementary aged students or as an introductory read aloud for a unit on the moon for older elementary students.