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Katie Loves the Kittens Hardcover – September 16, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This sweet book tells the story of a dog—that's Katie—who is utterly infatuated with her owner's new kittens. Aroooooo! howls Katie eagerly whenever she sees the tiny felines, but her vocalizing, leaping and avid tail-wagging only scare the living daylights out of them. Katie learns, after some setbacks (readers will totally sympathize), that desperately wanting to make friends is not necessarily a good starting point; sometimes, it's better to let the other side take the lead. Himmelman's (Chickens to the Rescue) empathetic, economical text builds dramatic tension and the audience's identification with Katie without an excess of anthropomorphizing. The pencil and ink drawings evince the same combination of craft and tenderness. Katie is the very picture of openheartedness, confusion and contrition, and readers will root for her from the very first page. Ages 3–8. (Sept.)
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From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3—When Sara Ann brings home three little kittens, her enthusiastic dog, Katie, is beside herself with joy. Unfortunately, the tail-wagging pooch shows her affection through leaps, bounds, and howls that scare the newcomers and earn her repeated reprimands from the child. The next day, things go from bad to worse as Katie eats the food intended for kittens. Overcome with sadness, she slinks off to her bed, falls asleep, and wakes up to find the felines curled up on top of her. Luckily, she has learned her lesson, and despite her frantically quivering body and wagging tale, she stays still and the kittens are not afraid. Himmelman's charming watercolor-and-ink illustrations depict a character sure to earn the affection of young readers. Katie's expressive movements make both her excitement and her dismay palpable and adorable. Youngsters will root for the pup as she tries to figure out how to make this new friendship work. Pair this with other stories of unlikely dog-cat friendships such as Lyn Rossiter McFarland's Widget (Farrar, 2001) or Marie Hall Ets's classic Play with Me (Puffin, 1976).—Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: 330L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080508682X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805086829
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Himmelman is an author/illustrator of nearly 80 books for children and books (for grown up kids) on various nature topics. He graduated School of Visual Arts in 1981, with his first book "Talester the Lizard" published later that year. Talester came about as a final assignment to create a story in his children's book illustration class. His teacher, Dale Payson, liked it enough to show to her editor at Dial - and thus began a career that continues today.

Himmelman's children's book genres range from whimsical to natural history. He is a naturalist, involved in many organizations where he gives lectures and leads trips in search of exciting flora and fauna (it all excites him). He strives to incorporate his interests with his career as an writer and illustrator because... it just makes both more fun. Sometimes, though, he just wants to make the reader laugh.

In his spare time, he plays guitar, goes on nature photography quests, and practices martial arts. He co-runs Green Hill Martial Arts ( where he teaches Hapkido and trains in Jeet Kune Do.

Oh, and he likes books, of course - reading them is as much as writing them: Fantasy, history, and graphic novels top the list.

In 2014 Himmelman started a children's book writer/illustrator critique group where published and "pre-published" writers/artists in this genre can hone their work.

He lives with his wife Betsy in Killingworth, CT. Betsy is also an artist, and teaches art at the local high school. They have two adult children, Jeff (artist in CA) and Lizzie (business owner in PA). And there's always the usual menagerie of dogs, cats, and chickens keeping him company throughout the day.

Websites? He's got 'em:

1) (homepage)
2) (facebook)
3) (his school)
4) (blog)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The secret to author popularity lies in building a faithful fan base. If you've written/illustrated something particularly good in the past then odds are that if you continue to create high-quality books you will garner a lot of fans in the process. Now John Himmelman is an interesting case. At first he does all these nature-based books with titles like A Pill Bug's Life and Discovering Moths. That's nice and all, but then one year he suddenly breaks out of the nature-based mold and creates something wholly new and original. If you have not read Chickens to the Rescue then you are missing out. A madcap free-for-all involving chickens, football helmets, and renegade ducks, it was with this particular book that I fell head over heels in love with Himmelman's style. Now he has a new picture book out that combines the sheer frenzy of Chickens with a truly believable and touching storyline. Katie Loves the Kittens is a very interesting look at how unrestrained passion can turn out to be more harmful than helpful, particularly when it comes to kittens.

When Katie the dog sees that her mistress Sara Ann has brought home three kittens it is without a doubt, "the most exciting day in Katie's whole life!" The problem with Katie is that she's a bit of a howler. She just takes one gander at the little kittens and she can't help but howl and chase them in her glee. Funny thing about kittens though. They're not much for the whole howling/chasing bit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W. Cluff on December 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Katie is an adorable little dog who just got 3 feline brothers and sisters. She is very excited to play with them, but her exuberance is over the top and frightening. Katie lands herself in trouble, is misunderstood, and regrets her actions. Eventually she learns to restrain herself and is rewarded with 3 new friends. The situations and emotions in this story are very familiar to preschool aged children and those who spend a lot of time with them. The art is fantastic. The facial expressions of the kittens are priceless, and Katie's little tongue, doing its best to make up for the latest misadventure, is very endearing. I think this is a fantastic book for 4-8 year olds. Entertaining, sympathetic, and an issue near and dear to many this age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus VINE VOICE on February 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
At every book fair I find a hit book! This time, this February, the BIG hit is "Katie Loves the Kittens!" Oh--my--goodness!! Katie is the most adorable dog! Look at that cover! Katie appears to be chasing the kittens, but not so, oh no! Katie LOVES those kittens. In fact, she is so excited to have them in her house that she must, no MUST howl her approval. Of course, that howl reaches the mythic levels, the archetypal levels for those kitties--the archetypal level of the BEAST! They are terrified! Katie the BEAST!

Simply put, the above paragraph tries to show the reactions of two groups of critters upon contact with each other: Katie the fat, happy, established dog and three little kittens, newly adopted, newly taken from their mom. Three little kittens a bit fearful, a bit timid, but at least with each other. Safe, so to speak--UNTIL Katie howls at them. Yikes!

Oh, I could go on and on simply relaying the reaction of the kitties and the dog upon meeting each other. John Himmelman, an illustrator new to this librarian, has become a big hit with both students and mothers. During the week of book fair I read this book to two groups of students, who in their turn, wanted to share the book with their friends. If a mother asked for a "good" book to buy, I showed this book. It sold out! Everyone fell in love with Katie and the kittens!

If you have ever seen a comedian imitating the difference between dogs and cats, you know that they show a dog being so excited, tail a-wagging, tongue a-licking, playing the I'm-so-glad-to-see-you routine dogs use to greet their humans. On the other hand, a cat will sway its body a bit for some lovely petting, but act as if she is saying, "Yo, Human. Aren't you glad to see me?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Well-Read Child on October 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Katie is a clumsy floppy-eared dog whose owner Sara Ann has just brought home three kittens. According to the book it was, "the most exciting day in Katie's whole life." She's so happy that she can't help but howling, "AROOOOOOOOO!" As you may imagine, it frightens the kittens, and Sara Ann scolds her. Katie is determined to control her excitement around the kittens, but every time she gets close to them, another "AROOOOOOOOOO!" comes out. Can Katie control herself enough to enjoy the kittens and to please Sara Ann? Maybe....

This book is sooooo sweet, satisfying, and funny. The simple, yet engaging storyline is perfect for beginning readers and kids with short attention spans. Himmelman's illustrations are very amusing. Katie's "AROOOOOOOOO's" send kittens scurrying up lampshades and windows; her pathetic facial expressions when Sara Ann scolds her are adorable; and her futile attempts at self control are hilarious.

This is one of those books that I think both boys and girls will love, especially those who love cats and dogs. It would make an excellent read aloud for the entire family.
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