Book Review: Splat the Cat
CAUTION: COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT HORROR STORY
While in school, a classmate told me about their upcoming school library job. They were to take over for an older librarian who had held the position for many years. My classmate said that job numero uno will be collection development rehab. The reason? The former librarian was a cat lover, and she made it a priority to stock the collection with a wildly disproportionate amount of feline titles. Not only did she buy them by the armful, but she also couldn’t bear to part with any of the old ones. Books about dogs? One. A classic case of letting your personal tastes get in the way of a nicely balanced collection.
Why do I bring this story up? Well, I have before me the latest from Rob Scotton (of “Russell the Sheep” fame), “Splat the Cat”, and I can’t help but think of that cat loving librarian, eager to snap this one up. Problem is, it might not be the top choice for the role it fills.
“Splat the Cat” is a first day of school book. The story begins with the titular Splat, in bed, petrified of the day that lay before him. After packing Seymour, his pet mouse, and using all the delay tactics he could muster, Splat arrives at cat school to meet his teacher, Mrs. Wimpydimple, and his new classmates. After Seymour escapes, Splat must do everything he can do to keep his pet safe in a room full of cats. When Seymour saves the day by unlocking the milk cupboard, everyone gains a new appreciation for rodents.
Books written to be read aloud are often frantic in spots. While this tone can pair nicely with humor, “Splat” has the feel of a story that is jumping from one event to the next in a race to the finish. A disjointed quality creeps in on occasion, distracting from the fun.
The illustrations will appeal to young readers. While no information is provided about their creation, they appear to these eyes as a digital/hand drawn combination. Fur is rendered in remarkable detail, each hair on fluffy display.
As far as first day of school books go, “Splat the Cat” is not a must add. However, its humor and illustrations will be a draw for youngsters… and possibly a few cat obsessed school librarians.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
Filed under: Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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