A Box Full of Kittens

by Sonia Manzano and Matt Phelan

Ruthie wants to be Superman. When her mami asks her to spend the day with her pregnant... read more

Ruthie wants to be Superman. When her mami asks her to spend the day with her pregnant Aunt Juanita, Ruthie sees the opportunity to help as a way to use her superhero strengths. Speeding out the apartment and dashing through her Puerto Rican neighborhood, Ruthie arrives breathless at her aunt’s door. “Is it time for the baby to come? Should I get help?” Ruthie eagerly inquires. It’s not time for the baby yet, but Ruthie helps Aunt Juanita by running errands at the speed of light. Flying to the bodega for another snack that her aunt is craving, Ruthie’s swiftness falters when Don Felix presents her with a box full of kittens. Ruthie loves kittens. Her aunt, the errand, and Superman are forgotten—Ruthie is smitten. She is so absorbed with their cuteness that Ruthie fails to realize that an ambulance has arrived to take Aunt Juanita to have her baby. Later, a dejected Ruthie realizes she has not saved the day after all. But at the welcome home party, her aunt announces that it was the coquito (coconut ice) delivered by Ruthie that made the baby finally come, and Ruthie goes from feeling like a zero to feeling like a hero, especially when she is the first at the party who gets to hold the new baby. Warm watercolor and pen-and-ink drawings illustrate a sensitive and funny story about what it takes to be a superhero. (Ages 3–7)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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