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1001 Stories Collection

Three Little Kittens

Three Little Kittens
Added on 03rd September 2020

Nursery rhyme May have origins in British folk tradition

Three little kittens find out why it is important to look after their mittens.


Three little cats lose and then find their mittens. Their mother is cross at the loss but pleased when they find them and rewards them with pie.

Why we chose it

Three Little Kittens featured in the nursery rhyme room in our Time for Bed exhibition. The kittens appear on Helen Cooper’s nursery rhyme mural, painted for Time for Bed, which can now be seen in Small Worlds.

Where it came from

Three Little Kittens was probably an old English folk rhyme. It was published in 1827 in the Eton Miscellany. A later longer version has been attributed to an American Sunday School teacher, Eliza Lee Cabot Follen (1787-1860).

Where it went next

It is included in Mother Goose collections of rhymes.

In the film Despicable Me Gru reads Three Little Kittens to his adopted daughters.

Associated stories

Other Mother Goose rhymes include Hey Diddle Diddle, Hickory Dickory Dock, Jack and Jill and Baa Baa Black Sheep.

Cats feature in a number of rhymes and stories for small children. Nursery rhymes include Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat Where Have You Been? and Hey Diddle Diddle

Story cats include Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Tom Kitten, Inga Moore’s Six Dinner Sid, Lynley Dodds Slinky Malinki and Scarface Claw, Judith Kerr’s Mog, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Tabby McTat and Sam Lloyd’s Mr Pusskins.

Other stories celebrate cat’s behaviour like Eve Sutton and Lynley Dodd’s My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes and Vivane Schwarz’s There are Cats in this Book or children’s relationships with cats like Emily Gravett’s Matilda’s Cat.

Added on 03rd September 2020

Nursery rhyme May have origins in British folk tradition