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Reviewed by:
  • Splat the Cat
  • Deborah Stevenson
Scotton, Rob; Splat the Cat; written and illus. by Rob Scotton. HarperCollins, 2008; [32p] Library ed. ISBN 978-0-06-083155-4 $17.89 Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-083154-7 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys R 5-8 yrs

New student Splat the Cat is very nervous about his first day of school, so he tucks his pet mouse, Seymour, into his lunchbox for moral support and reluctantly makes his way to class. Once there, though, he's pleased to find friendly classmates, the information that cats are amazing, and the source of answers to his many, many questions. When Seymour pops out of Splat's lunchbox, things look grim for a moment as "the cats did what cats do"; Seymour turns the tables on his pursuers, however, then saves the day for the kitties by opening the stuck door to the closet holding their snacktime milk, resulting in an official change of class philosophy on cats and mice. While the story is a bit of a collection of disparate parts, both the first-day-of-school plot and the mouse-confounds-cats plot unfold amusingly, with entertaining details and sturdily comedic rhythms in the compact sentences. The hilarious illustrations compensate for any plot deficit: Scotton's cats are chunky rectangular blocks of felinity with delicately furry edges and absurdly slender tails curling around like attached feather boas, yet they've got an appropriate primary-grades dorkiness to them (especially evident in the double-page spread where they greet Splat in all their friendly, gap-toothed, nose-picking glory). Colors are carefully contrasting, with inky black Splat and his gray classmates dominating the palette that's enriched by muted limes and teals in the kitty clothes and punched up with elements such as Splat's red bookbag. A splendidly absurd alternative to more orthodox first day of school stories, this will appeal to lovers of cats or just plain goofiness. [End Page 493]



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