cover image Three Little Kittens

Three Little Kittens

Barbara McClintock. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-338-12587-0

McClintock (Vroom!) notes that TV cartoons were among the inspirations for her latest book, and she cheerfully channels them in single-plane compositions; vivid, stripped-down characterizations; and pencil, watercolor, and gouache vignettes. So too does she capture cartoons’ straight-up fun, transplanting the classic nursery rhyme of kittens, mittens, and shenanigans into a suburban home with a mix of paneled and full-page spreads. The kittens (brown, tiger, and calico) continually get into scrapes: when they don mittens to eat the yearned-for pie, the result is a drippy, gloppy purple mess; ordered to wash their mittens, they of course flood the kitchen with suds. The creator’s most inventive touch is jaunty patter and commentary—sometimes in dialogue balloons, sometimes in the narration itself—weaved in and around the original’s more formal language. “Okay, let’s stop crying and start looking,” says the take-charge brown kitten when their mother insists that without the mittens “you shall have no pie.” And the mittens’ recovery is celebrated with a unison shout of “Watch out pie, here we come!” Ages 3–5. [em]Agent: Jennie Dunham, Dunham Literary. (Apr.) [/em]