From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 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
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Scotton offers a feline so fuzzy and appealing that kids will want to reach out and touch. It’s Splat’s first day at cat school, but instead of jumping joyously out of bed, he hides under the covers, tail and paws peeping out and round eyes just visible beneath the sheet (an extremely clever touch). Alas, Mom’s not buying the ruse, so Splat is soon on his way to school, mouse pal, Seymour, in his lunch box. He’s welcomed enthusiastically by his cat classmates, and lessons go smoothly—until he learns that cats are supposed to chase mice! Poor Seymour. A tidy twist at the end, notwithstanding, the story is fairly unremarkable. The artwork, on the other hand, is stellar and lots of fun. Cat-themed details are strategically placed throughout, and a scattering of clean-lined objects in bright colors provide great contrast to goofy-looking, spindly-legged, coal-black Splat and his toothy, shades-of-gray kitty classmates. Splat’s very visible, very childlike enthusiasms and concerns will resonate with kids, who will flip through the pictures more than once. Preschool-Grade 1. --Stephanie Zvirin