Three Little Kittens

32p. 978-0-80373-533-0.
PreS—The well-known nursery rhyme gets the Pinkney touch in this sumptuous edition. The cherubic felines on the front cover invite readers to follow their mishaps from acquiring the mittens, to losing them, to finding them, to getting them all dirty, to washing them, and—judging from the exuberance of the final spread—losing them again. Pinkney's energetic kittens need every inch of each spread to tell their story. Their mother, who has been represented in past versions as rather fearsome when the kittens confess their carelessness, is gentler here, although clearly long-suffering. Still, she has a sighing patience that children will find comforting. The ability of the youngsters to turn their carelessness into play (finding the lost mittens becomes a counting game, and they seem to have as much fun washing the pie-covered mittens as they did getting them dirty in the first place) is a hidden charm to the rhyme that is developed here; details such as a red cardinal reflected in a stray bubble escaping the washing tub has more "cheer" than "chore" in it. The palette of autumn colors is warm, despite the evidence of mittens and scarves, and the use of white space for the background makes the illustrations sparkle. This is another superb entry in the artist's catalog of classics for a new generation.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
In this classic nursery rhyme, a mother cat threatens her three careless kittens with the loss of pie-eating privileges if they don't find their mittens. Cannily playing up the story's fundamental frivolity, Pinkney beribbons (and ultimately bemittens) the kittens and puts "mother dear" in bows. Young readers will get wrapped up in the light, relatable-to-kids dramatics.

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