Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Splat is the cat scared silly by the very thought of going to his first day of Cat School. He procrastinates like crazy: "I don't have any clean socks, Mom," "You don't wear socks" she replies. Hangs on to gates and lamp posts; clings to his mother like a limpet until thrust into the formidable arms and bosom of Mrs. Wimpydimple, his teacher. Then he is welcomed by his new classmates. Then his pet mouse escapes from his lunchbox...Rob Scotten has obviously produced a book that should be required reading for all pre-schoolers. Now Splat returns in a new multi-media package from Weston Woods, giving youngsters lots more options to enjoy Splat's agony and ecstasy. They can listen to the story as narrated on a CD (with and without page-turning prompts,) or watch Weston Wood's animated version of the storyincluding an interview with Rob Scottenvia DVD. They could also eschew all that and return to the original glories of Scotton's storybook in and of itself. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
Working in the same edgy style of his Russell the Sheep books, Scotton once again wrests new opportunities for humor from a well-worn theme, this time training his sights on first-day-of-school anxiety. Right away the art signals off-kilter: using a predominantly blue-gray palette, enlivened by only one or two contrast colors per page, Scotton evokes the black cat Splat in almost 3D renderings, the cat's hairs seemingly standing on edge, eyes bulging apprehensively as he contemplates his first appearance at Cat School. For courage, Splat secretly brings along his pet mouse, Seymour, and is astounded when the day's lesson includes the news that cats chase mice (to Splat's multiple "Why?"s, the teacher offers a finite "Because"). Naturally, everything works out before the dismissal bell rings, but not before a chase sequence guaranteed to bring down the house. Rambunctious, filled with superbly executed details (look for Seymour when Splat pulls his mildly sheer sheets over his head), this book not only gets its job done, it completely transcends its agenda. Ages 3-7. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
It is Splat's first day of school and he is worried. What if he does not make any new friends? Just in case, he brings along his pet mouse, Seymour, and hides him in his lunchbox. The teacher introduces Splat to the class and soon starts learning all his important cat lessons. When Seymour escapes and the cats do what cats do, he is afraid that he will lose all of his friends. Just in time, wise Mrs. Wimpydimple takes charge and teaches everyone an important new lesson. Cat school is probably going to be okay after all. What a neat way to address that beginning-of-school fear that most children have. The pictures are fantastic! Parents and teachers will have a great time with the funny text and illustrations. Check out other Scotten books: Russell the Sheep, Russell and the Lost Treasure. They are great for story programs and for gifts too. Reviewer: Naomi Butler
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2- Fans of Scotton's Russell the Sheep will immediately recognize the offbeat humor in Splat the Cat . The fuzzy black feline is worried about his first day of school, and despite determined attempts to avoid the inevitable, he ends up there. School is a combination of fantastic revelations and baffling mysteries. Most puzzling of all for Splat is the news that cats chase mice. He does not chase mice. In fact, he has a pet mouse whom he has packed in his lunchbox because he wants a friend with him on his first day. The sight of the mouse causes chaos, but proves fortuitous when Seymour saves the day by crawling through a small hole to unlock the milk pantry. Cheered by the fact that school is, in fact, wonderful, Splat excitedly returns on the second day. This lighthearted story, told with a generous helping of humor and goofy characterizations, will have broad appeal. The backgrounds are full of great details, like the fish-bone wallpaper in Splat's room and one of his classmates clutching a Russell the Sheep doll. There is something new to find with each reading. The use of monochrome in the illustrations, with a touch of color here and there, emphasizes the idea of school as a place of uniformity where fresh ideas are allowed to break through. Splat is a welcome addition to the first-day-jitters canon and a fun book to read any time of year.-Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
Splat is terrified of his first day at Cat School and "his tail wiggle[s] wildly with worry." He'll need a friend, so he takes his pet mouse Seymour with him. Mrs. Wimpydimple covers lots of territory in class: Self-esteem ("Cats are amazing") is followed by nature ("Cats climb trees, drink mild, and chase mice"). Chaos ensues when Seymour jumps out of Splat's bright yellow lunch box and the "cats [do] what cats do." Their savvy teacher saves the day-and Seymour. By day two, Splat's "tail wiggle[s] wildly . . . with excitement." Primary colors, especially red, brighten the modern palette of black, gray and moody blues and greens. Humorous touches in the highly textured illustrations delight: Splat's mouse slippers sit beside his bed, and fishbone wallpaper lines his walls. From the blackboard lessons to the store-window signs advertising white chocolate mice, jelly fish and fish cakes, environmental print creates visual interest. Splat himself is a hoot with his spindly legs, flyaway fur and highly expressive tail. Sure to stir things up at storytime. (Picture book. 3-8)