cover image A Kitten Tale

A Kitten Tale

Eric Rohmann, . . Knopf, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-517-70915-3

Rohmann’s (My Friend Rabbit ) concise cat story shares the uncomplicated elegance and playful spirit of fellow Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes’s Kitten’s First Full Moon . Here, gray, brown and marmalade kittens dread the coming of winter, but a yellow tabby holds an opposing view. The first kitten shivers, “ 'We’ll be cold!’ 'Freezing cold!’ said the second kitten. 'Cold to the tips of our tails!’ said the third kitten. The fourth kitten said, 'I can’t wait.’ ” With the arrival of spring, summer and fall, the three kittens express anxiety, while their optimistic littermate repeats, “I can’t wait.” Along with the dialogue, Rohmann winks at cat lovers with his observations of feline behavior. His inviting linocut illustrations make use of supple black outlines, grainy earth-tone hues and coal-black page borders. Knowing readers will smile at the kittens’ lazy pastimes, like tapping at a leaf on the garden pond, grasping at a bug or ducking under a throw rug so that only a telltale rounded bump and swishy tail can be seen. When the dreaded snowflakes finally arrive, a wordless spread of the three curious naysayers watching their friend through a window—and a concluding image of all four tumbling in a snowdrift—confirm what wise readers suspected all along: there’s good reason to look forward to the changing seasons. While this title has broad appeal, it is an especially apt choice for children who approach the unknown with fear rather than pleasure. Ages 3-6. (Jan.)