FOUR HUNGRY KITTENS by Emily Arnold McCully


Age Range: 3 - 5
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Caldecott winner McCully’s latest effort is a wordless book in which a family of barnyard kittens explores its surroundings while they wait for Mama to feed them. The caring family dog looks after them when their explorations lead to trouble. Hungry, two of them fall into the milk can and a predatory bird threatens all of them when they venture outdoors. But the watchful dog’s barking scares the bird, alerts the farmer, and brings attention to the fact that mother cat cannot reach her babies because she is locked in a storeroom. The dog even offers the kittens a bone when he realizes they are hungry. The happy ending sees Mama’s release from the storeroom with a mouse for kitties’ meal and then a cozy snuggle for all, including the dog. This pleasant story about caring relationships lacks a strong illustrative narrative. The cat-family relationship is not clearly established before the action takes place. Mother cat appears in the frontispiece with the kittens, but when the story begins after the title page, there is no indication that she is out hunting food for them. McCully’s watercolors, particularly those depicting the barn are dark, making it difficult to discern the details. The movement back and forth from the adventures of the kittens to the actions of the mother cat could be confusing. A nice story, but one that may need lots of prompting from adults for the young child to “read” by herself. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8037-2505-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2001


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