Kevin Henkes, . . HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-058828-1

From their first glimpse of the title character, licking her front paw on the cover illustration, youngsters will find the star of Henkes's (Wemberly Worried ) fetchingly simple story quite irresistible. When Kitten spies her first full moon, she thinks, "There's a little bowl of milk in the sky. And she wanted it." Yet when she closes her eyes and stretches her neck to lick the milk, Kitten instead ends up with a bug on her tongue. Next, she springs for the moon from the porch, and tumbles down the steps. Henkes's minimal narrative underscores the feline's drama with a refrain that encourages young listeners to chime in, "Poor Kitten!" After each such refrain, a white spread with a spot illustration of the kitten in the bottom left corner and the full moon in the upper right corner emphasize the feline's impossible dream: "Still, there was the little bowl of milk, just waiting." Horizontal scenes of Kitten's "chase" and vertical panels of the feline's climb up a tree to reach her prize make cinematic use of the spreads, rendered in variegated hues of black and white, in gouache and colored pencil. After all her trials, her own bowl of milk is waiting for her at home. The narrative and visual pacing will keep children entranced, and the determined young heroine and her comical quest will win them over. Ages 3-up. (Feb.)