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April's Kittens

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  351 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Since it was first published over fifty years ago, April's Kittens remains a classic cat story and is now made available again in this handsome new edition. Many children understand April's dilemma when her cat, Sheba, has three kittens. April is thrilled until her father insists that theirs is strickly a one-cat household. April must give up three cats, but which ones? Th ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 2nd 1940 by HarperCollins
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The Cat in the Hat by Dr. SeussKitten's First Full Moon by Kevin HenkesMillions of Cats by Wanda GágPuss in Boots by Charles PerraultThe Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter
Picture Books about Cats
29th out of 360 books — 177 voters
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Great "Cat" Books
166th out of 1,029 books — 578 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 641)
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Lisa Vegan
Mar 30, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Luann
This is less a traditional picture book and more of an illustrated story. It’s a well-written and charming story, and it has an ending that is delightful. The end really won me over.

The illustrations of the cats are good. I didn’t completely fall in love with them, but I liked them a lot.

There was a lot about this story I didn’t like. I believe in spayed and neutered animals, for instance, and given that the cat is a New York City apartment cat, I’m a bit flummoxed about how Sheba managed to hav
Jul 17, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing
Some older picture books leave me cold with their lack of full-color illustrations, and/or with their weird color choices. Not this one. The kittens and cat are beautifully depicted, and the black-and-white feels like a deliberate choice, not a lack of options.

April, the family cat has kittens, and the daughter of the family is wracking her brain trying to figure out whether to keep April or one of the kittens, since her father has declared that the live in a one-cat apartment.

Spoiler: "Happily
Mar 25, 2011 Luann rated it really liked it
This is a sweet and timeless story of a little girl, April, and her family who live in a "one-cat apartment" in New York City. April's dad always warns their cat, Sheba, that they only have room for one cat in their small apartment. But Sheba doesn't pay attention and has three little kittens.

Although this was published in 1940 and won a Caldecott Honor in 1941, it doesn't feel dated at all. Part of that is the style of the illustrations, which don't include any background details but focus sol
Jan 01, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Caldecott Honor, 1940

Art Medium: Watercolor, charcoal, and ink

Favorite illustration: page 13

Favorite line: "'Heavens, no' cried Miss Elwell 'I already have too many cats. You should see my meat bill--it's simply appalling.'"
Oct 22, 2012 Dolly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a sweet story about a family, living in a small apartment in New York City, and their cat, who has a litter of kittens. I had no idea that the book was written before my father was born, and although the narrative had an old fashioned, nostalgic feel, the tale holds up well even today.

Our girls pointed out the fact that the family did not want their cat to have kittens, but did not take the step to have the cat spayed. I explained that it was not a common procedure 70 years ago. Otherwi
Kristine Hansen
Jul 15, 2015 Kristine Hansen rated it it was amazing
While the story is probably too wordy for the modern child being read to, the illustrations and the characters create a snapshot of life that's so easy to understand that you feel like you got a little chance to eavesdrop on a family for a little bit. I felt blessed to be included in this family circle and came away smiling at the solution (that reminded me somewhat of Chi's Sweet Home, Volume 1 but in a very good way.

I kind of wish storytelling was still like this today.
Apr 10, 2008 ABC rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: kids
April lives in a tiny apartment. Her cat, Sheba, has three kittens and the father won't allow her to keep them all. She can only choose one cat. She gives away two kittens, but has to choose between Sheba and her favorite kitten. But voila! Everything is saved when the family decides to go apartment hunting the next moring for a bigger place, thus allowing her to keep two cats. Unlikely ending.

I kept thinking, "Why didn't they get Sheba spayed?" But this was written in 1940 and maybe people didn
I have to be honest - there was way too much text in this book and I stopped after two pages. The gist of it was that in spite of a warning from 6-year-old April's father that they live in "a strictly one-cat apartment" (in NYC), April's cat Sheba gets pregnant and has kittens, and they have to figure out what to do with them. Newberry's books are all about the pictures anyway.
Mar 07, 2013 Brindi rated it liked it
1941 Caldecott Honor

I wanted to give this only 2 stars, but the illustrations were great. I really enjoyed them and thought they told their own story, separate from the text. A cute book for its time.
Anna Zbacnik
My 5 year old has been sleeping with this book. She gave it15/5 stars...which boosted my rating. Must find her her own copy:)
Feb 08, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it
A while ago I was tagged by one of my friends on Facebook to post a list of 10 books that had stayed with me. They didn't have to be the best books I'd ever read. I wasn't supposed to think for days about which books to choose, just post a list of books that, for whatever reason, were ones that stuck in my mind somehow. The first book on my list was April's Kittens, a book I'd read many, many times as a little kid and one that informed my concept of loyalty. My husband was surprised by this choi ...more
Jan 17, 2014 Sam rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott
This was the Caldecott honor for 1941 and I definitely think it was better (both in illustrations AND story) than that years' medal winner: They Were Strong and Good
As far as "Kittens" goes, I really enjoyed it. The story was simple and sweet, but still had a lot of depth and imagination that would hold the attention of younger readers. Not just then, but I think today, as well. The illustrations fit the tone of the book, sweet and subtle. I loved the way the kittens had more distinguishing feat
May 31, 2012 Samantha rated it liked it
April and her family live in what her father calls a "one-cat apartment." When April's beloved cat Sheba has 3 kittens she must choose which of the 4 will be the 1 cat the apartment allows for and find good homes for the other 3. In the end, April cannot choose between Sheba and one of her kittens the family has named Brenda so the family begins look for a "two-cat apartment." A very long story about cats. The artwork was better than the story which was quite long and dragged in spots. The cats ...more
A Caldecott Honor award winning cat story book. Lot's of words for a Caldecott and perhaps showing just a little bit of age, but a lot less than I would have expected. The art is actually fairly simple except for being all of cats and kittens. A nice cute read but not fantastic.
Sep 07, 2011 Ilana rated it it was amazing
Great story. I can't remember if I read it when I was younger. I didn't recognize the story. A great, classic Caldecott Honor book first published in1940. A book I would have loved when I was in the 4-6 year-old range. A great family story of a little girl and the love of her cat and one of the kittens her cat Sheeba has from a litter of 3. Black and white simple illustrations with red text captions of these illustrations. Great character description of April and her family. Book is great for pr ...more
Laura Harrison
Jan 16, 2016 Laura Harrison rated it it was amazing
It doesn't get any better than Clare Turlay Newberry. Anyone interested in children's literature whether it is so read to a child, teach or write and illustrate their own books needs to start here. This is how an excellent picture book is done, folks.
Linda Lipko
This is a lovely 1941 Caldecott Honor Book that stands the test of time. Living in a tiny apartment, April's father repeatedly tells her they are one cat household. When her cat Sheba has three kittens, April loves their tiny pink noses and the soft fur.

Mesmerized, she spends an inordinate amount of time watching over the kittens. Her love of the kittens is balanced with the sadness she feels at her father's comments and his strict adherence to only one cat allowed.

Initially, April must choose
Apr 06, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: family
I could tell while reading this book that the language and some words are a little old fashioned, and when I saw it was written in 1940 I was not too surprised. However, this is a unique story about a little girl's love for her cat and new kittens. It is rather lengthy, so I would recommend it for upper elementary students to read during independent reading time or a lesson on dialogue and characters. I found that it emphasizes strongly on feelings, adjectives, and dialogue between characters, s ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Lucinda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Another childhood favorite, I'm going through and old box of books ^_^.

Kittens, fluffy black adorable kittens. Need I say more?
Oct 05, 2015 debbie~cr8zycat~ rated it it was amazing
I would give any book about kittens 5 stars. :-)
Apr 16, 2010 Typhani added it
Shelves: picture-books
Summary: A cat named Sheba unexpectedly has three kittens. The girl, April is thrilled until her father insists that theirs is strickly a one-cat household. April must give up three cats, but can't decide which ones. How April eventually comes up with the perfect solutions makes for a heartwarming story that has appealed to many young cat lovers and will continue to delight generations of children everywhere.

Genre: Picture Book/Children's Literature

Audience: K-5

Theme/Life Lessons:

**** Caldecott Honor (1941) ****
Jan 18, 2015 Kath rated it liked it
Belongs to another era of picture books when children's literature was just that, literature. The charcoal drawings of kittens and cats are so soft, you want to pet them. Most kids won't sit through this in one sitting. I'd break it up for younger kids or suggest it for a higher-level reader who likes to get herself lost in a book.
Nov 08, 2014 Twotwo marked it as to-read
Shelves: home
This won the 1941 Caldecott honor award. The story is simple, April's cat Sheba has kittens and since her and her parents live in a very small NYC apartment, they have to give the kittens away. But April is too attached to one kitten and its mother, so the family decides to move into a bigger apartment. I thought the story was too long and drawn-out, but I loved the charcoal illustrations of the cats, which the author was famous for and used her own cats as models. Recommended for ages 4-7, 2 st ...more
April's Kittens is a timeless book anyone who has ever sworn they would not fall in love with a soft little fur ball and in the end found themselves hopelessly in love with one can relate to. April's Kittens tells the story of 6 year old April, her parents, and their house cat Sheeba. Already living under cramped conditions in a New York City "one cat" apartment the family welcomes Sheebas kittens into the world and come to realize the family realizes it is time to make some changes in their liv ...more
Carey H
Dec 06, 2010 Carey H rated it liked it

April and her family lived in an small apartment in New York City -- with her black cat named Sheba. When Sheba had three kittens, April wanted to keep all off them. However, her apartment was strickly a "one cat" apartment. Thus, they could not keep them all--heartbreaking! However, they do come up with a solution to keep Sheba and April's favorite kitten--move to a "two-cat apartment".

The cat illustrations in this book are wonderful. Children who like cats will enjoy this book!
Aug 16, 2012 Angela rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book a little more than Barkis, the Caldecott Honor book by the same author. It has pretty pictures, although once you've seen one you've pretty much seen them all. Its a cute story but I believe for a story to become a true classic you have to want to read, or at least be willing to read the story over again. I was happy to read this once and then be done. Barkis was the same. The kids asked me to read it again and to be honest I left a good deal out.
While this book did seem a little boring in the beginning and middle I thought that it picked up nicely at the end. Overall I thought that the illustrations in this book were pretty life-like and the story line a little simple, but a child who likes cats would probably enjoy this book.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Nov 02, 2012 Molly rated it liked it
April's family cat has kittens and they must find homes for them. This is a cute cat story, although it is a bit too long and drawn out. I thought the illustrations were great. I wanted to pet the cats. I found it interesting that as early as 1940 there was the stereotype of the cat lady. Actual quote from the book, "However, having no husband or children, she naturally had more room for cats."
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