cover image Three Little Kittens

Three Little Kittens

Jerry Pinkney, Dial, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3533-0

On the heels of his Caldecott win for The Lion & the Mouse, Pinkney offers another masterful visual interpretation of a classic narrative, albeit one with less gravitas. Wearing mittens newly knitted by their mother, the adorable and feisty kittens frolic outdoors with three birds (one sporting a woolen hat, one a striped scarf, one a shawl). Readers will delight in spotting dropped mittens among fallen leaves before the kittens announce their losses to their mother. Rendered in graphite, color pencil, and watercolor, Pinkney's sparkling-eyed young cats—in bows, bells, and lace—are almost impossibly (and perhaps overly) cuddly and precious, exuding boundless energy and capricious emotions. The author's tweaks of this rhyme lighten its tone slightly: the mother cat calls her kittens "careless" for losing their mittens and "silly" when they dirty them eating pie—never "naughty." Pinkney adds a sly final flourish: playing outside, one kitten has already dropped the knit cap that her mother has just given her. A cozy domestic drama set within a rich, autumnal wonderland that begs exploring. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)