Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Boo! Scaredy-Cat Splat! by Rob Scotton

"We have all made jack o' lanterns and everyone is dressing up in costumes, and Mrs. Wimpydimple is going to tell a ghost story, and there is a prize for the scariest cat, and I want to be the scariest cat!

So please, can I take the spider to school... P-L-E-A-S-E?" said Splat without taking a breath.

Rob Scotton's first-grade cat is back in his new Halloween story, Scaredy-Cat, Splat! (Splat the Cat) (Harper, 2010). As always, Splat is a strong-minded little cat who this time sees himself copping the prize as the scariest cat in the classroom. "I'm a scary witch's cat," he tells himself.

But Splat's imagined glory begins to look like a disaster when he trips and breaks his witchy broom. His mom is sympathetic and quickly comes up with a creative spider costume of her own design, and Splat sets forth for school with his usual high hopes and his own cheering squad, a black spider in a jar and Seymour the mouse in costume as well. But his classmates have been equally creative. Spike is swathed in white as a mummy, and Plank is a skeleton, and Splat's usual self-confidence is shaken.

"Awww," Splat sighed. "Spike and Plank are both scarier than me.

I'll never win the prize for the scariest cat."

But when Mrs. Wimpydimple comes to the punch line of that famous jump tale "In a Dark Dark Wood," Splat is so taken aback that his startled tail slaps his own jack o' lantern spinning into the air and right down on his own head. Amazed, the whole class of little scary cats agrees that Splat has topped the competition--as the scariest cat of them all!

Scotton's illustrations, his googly-eyed, spiked-haired little hero set off on white in strong spot art, carries this slight little story to a satisfying and chuckle-provoking conclusion for picture book fans. His latest, Scaredy-Cat, Splat! (Splat the Cat), joins its now lengthening list of series mates, Splat the Cat, Merry Christmas, Splat (Splat the Cat), Love, Splat (Splat the Cat), Splat the Cat: Where's the Easter Bunny? and Splat the Cat: Splat the Cat Sings Flat (I Can Read Book 1).

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