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April's Kittens
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April's Kittens

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  240 ratings  ·  51 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
25th out of 322 books — 151 voters
Dewey by Vicki MyronThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. SeussOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. EliotAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis CarrollPuss in Boots by Charles Perrault
Great "Cat" Books
133rd out of 857 books — 413 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 422)
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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...more
Lisa Vegan
Mar 30, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
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...more
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 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Apr 10, 2008 Kirei rated it 2 of 5 stars
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...more
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.
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:)
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...more
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.
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
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...more
Apr 06, 2011 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Another childhood favorite, I'm going through and old box of books ^_^.

Kittens, fluffy black adorable kittens. Need I say more?
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:

Read to James
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

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!
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:
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."
1941 Caldecott Honor

Favorite illustration: The end papers with the kittens drinking out of the red bowl

Favorite line: "Well, Margaret, what do you think? Shall we get a two-cat apartment this time?"

Kid-appeal: Lots of text, so better for older readers/listeners, but we really liked this sweet story and cheered out-loud at the ending
I'm not a cat guy, but Newberry's use of ink, watercolor and charcoal makes the illustrations in this book feel like a Chinese painting or calligraphy! Her depiction of cats and kittens far excel her humans. The story is capable in its own right (and cat lovers will fully embrace the story), but it isn't as commanding as the visual presentation.
Mary Ann
I adored this story, both for the sweet child-centered story and for the soft drawings of playful cats. Newberry has captured so much of the cats' essence, finding a perfect balance between realist and impressionist styles. Did I describe that correctly? I would love to know more about the media she used.

Caldecott honor 1941
The illustrations were marvelous, truly. But the story was just a bit too facile. Maybe, for its time, the ending was more plausible than it seemed to me to be. I would be willing to bet that this is a nostalgic favorite for many of you. I just don't understand that Sheba wasn't spayed - I hope the kittens are!
Ashley Allen
April's Kittens is a good story. However, It was wrote in 1940, but you could not tell from the way the story is written. There are few pictures and the text gets pretty wordy. I could use this book to talk about students love for animals and also the different homes that people in your classroom live in.
Jobiska (Cindy)
Wonderful just for the illustrations, but the story is tear-jerking as well. April's cat has kittens, and their apartment can only hold one cat, so she has to choose between keeping one kitten or keeping the mother cat. Of course all is resolved happily at the end.
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