Too Cool Cub: Splat the Cat and the Hotshot by Rob Scotten, et al
Splat is late for Cub Scouts.
Splat throws on his Scout scarf and tries to tie it right as he rushes out of the house. And when he arrives breathless, Mr. Mutt the leader seems a bit displeased.
"I thought you forgot," he said.
"Meet our new scout, Scott!"
Scott looked like a real hotshot!
Scott is impressive, with his squared shoulders and military spit-spot uniform, perfectly-tied scarf, and badge-filled belt. Splat feels a little scruffy beside him.
But Scott seems to be a nice guy, despite his super scout presence. He offers to help Splat with his knot-tying when he sees that Splat's rope is mostly tangles instead of knots. Scout Scott's campfire-building is pretty hot, too.
Splat's was not.
Next Mr. Mutt pulls out a map for their hike the next day, and Scott pops up to say he's hiked the trail many times already. O-kay. Splat gets it that Scott IS a hotshot, at least in the Cub Scout department. Splat is sure he's going to look like doofus compared to wonder-boy Scott. Nervously, Splat frets as he worries over not forgetting anything as he packs up. His backpack is a bit bulgy, not spit-spot neat like Scott's.
But when the troop makes a stop for lunch, Splat seems to be the only one who remembered a pot to heat the soup over the campfire. He also passes around some dried fruit for the hungry scouts to munch on while the fire gets hot and so does the soup. Splat is beginning to feel like a competent scout after all.
And when Scott the Hotshot "Leader of the Pack" fails to check the log bridge over the creek for rotten spots, Splat does NOT. Scott's the one who lands in the muddy stream below. But again Splat has remembered the Scout motto: BE PREPARED! He fishes a long rope out of his well-provisioned backpack and tosses one end to Scott. But before Splat can enlist other scouts to pull, Scott grabs at his end and Splat lands (SPLAT!) beside Scott.
Splat and Scott can't help laughing as they splash each other off. And as they help each other out of the stream, Mr. Mutt has something to say.
"YOU ARE ONE PREPARED SCOUT, SPLAT.
THE THINGS YOU BROUGHT HIT THE SPOT!
We've all had the experience of dealing with the "hotshot," the person whose air of confident cool makes us lose our own self-confidence, and Rob Scotten's little cat character Splat points up the many ways anyone can be of value in the group. In Splat the Cat and the Hotshot (I Can Read Level 1) HarperCollins, 2015), kids get a bit of social understanding along with Scouting knowledge and reading practice in the "ot" sound in this inexpensive "I-Can-Read" (Level One) book for beginning readers from Harper's famous series. Text author Laura Driscoll provides the list of fifteen words in advance of the story for pre-practice in sounding out the words, and Robert Eberz contributes the drawings faithfully in Scotten's style.