12 February 2007

Kitten's First Full Moon

Author/Illustrator: Kevin Henkes

In Greek mythology, Tantulus is the character whose punishment is to spend eternity neck deep in a lake whose water he could not drink, surrounded by fruit trees that always remain just beyond his reach. In Kitten's First Full Moon, the kitten is similarly taunted by an elusive "bowl of milk in the sky". The kitten spends the night trying to quench her thirst, but can't quite reach the object of her desire. Is this cute little cat destined for an eternity of unfulfillment and despair like her mythological counterpart? Can the Gods possibly be this cruel?

Publishing Ramifications: Since Henkes won the Caldecott with this book, and the publishing industry is a notorious league of copy-cats (no pun intended), we expected to see a flurry of books following this winning formula:

Greek Myth + Cute Animals = Award Winning Classic!

Unfortunately, the first of these: Curious George and the Augean Stables, while met with critical acclaim, failed to attain commercial success. This momentarily tempered the industry's love affair with anthropomorphic animals and disturbing mythology.

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