The Little Kitten (My Little Animal Friend)

by Nicola Killen (Author) Nicola Killen (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
 Ollie and her cat Pumpkin are out frolicking on a beautiful fall day when they come upon a tiny kitten shivering in a pile of fallen leaves. Ollie warms the kitten up and the three become fast friends, but when Ollie sees "Lost Kitten" posters hanging on the trees in the forest, she knows she has to help her new friend get home. As Halloween draws nearer, magic is afoot, and Ollie's good deed is rewarded in an unexpected way.

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1--Ollie and her pet cat Pumpkin are surprised to find a kitten hidden beneath a pile of fallen leaves. Distracted by her new friend, Ollie absentmindedly wanders away from a napping Pumpkin. Deeper into the woods Ollie discovers lost kitten posters and delivers her new friend home. Now on her own, she suddenly realizes she left her own cat behind. Hurriedly retracing her steps, a lonely and scared Ollie is joyfully reunited with Pumpkin. The soft grayscale color palette includes pops of orange and ocher foil embellishments to create a cozy autumnal setting with subtle nods to Halloween. Several clever peekaboo cutouts encourage repeat page turns and comic-style panels help pace the story. VERDICT The understated use of Halloween imagery allows this sweet, simple story to stand on its own. Recommended for younger audiences and larger picture book collections.--Sophie Kenney, Aurora P.L., IL

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Ollie, who previously starred in The Little Reindeer and The Little Rabbit, returns in a cat costume for an autumn adventure. Ollie and her cherished cat, Pumpkin, head outdoors on a fine fall day and find a shivering kitten beneath a pile of leaves. The three frolic in the woods, "catching falling leaves" and "being explorers" until Ollie, leaving Pumpkin behind, notices "lost kitten" posters. The whistling wind--and maybe a hint of magic--guide Ollie as she returns the kitten to its family. Just when things look dark and spooky for Ollie, meowing Pumpkin arrives to help. Lighthearted action blended with gentle suspense will keep readers on Ollie's trail. And Killen's graphite images--a signature of this series--are accented throughout with pops of vivid orange: leaves, pumpkins, doors, and window shutters sustain a crisp, seasonal tone. Ages 4-8. (July)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Lucky kitten, lucky readers: a sweet, special Halloween story." - Kirkus Reviews

Nicola Killen
Nicola Killen has always loved drawing and still likes nothing better than taking her sketchbook to the zoo to draw her favorite animals: rhinos and penguins. She designed cards before starting an MA in children's book illustration at Cambridge School of Art, and since then she has been working on her own books, including The Little Reindeer, which was called "an original and entertaining Christmas story with its own understated charm" in a starred review by Kirkus Reviews and "magical" by Publishers Weekly. The Little Reindeer was named a Horn Book Holiday High Note. Nicola Killen lives and works in Cambridge, England.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date
July 20, 2020
My Little Animal Friend
BISAC categories
JUV002050 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Cats
JUV002190 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Pets
JUV002370 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Baby Animals
JUV017030 - Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Halloween
Library of Congress categories
Lost and found possessions
Lost children

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