Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Little Stranger: Splat and the New Baby by Rob Scotton

Splat's eyes opened and his mouth fell open when his mother told him the news.

"Soon, Splat, there's going to be a new baby in the house."

What? Splat is flummoxed. He's always thought it would be fun to be a big brother. But this is so sudden!

Splat knows that there is going to be a lot to do, so he pitches in. He and Dad do up the spare room as a nursery with cutesy wallpaper and a mobile and bring up Splat's old crib from the basement. The two congratulate each other on their work. But before Splat can ask any questions, Mom appears at the front door with a baby in a carrier.

Splat can't wait to see the baby. He takes the shortcut, sliding down the banister. But....


Splat can't believe his eyes. The baby is... a...

CROCODILE! "How did this happen? He'll eat us up!"

Splat zips back up the stairs and hides under his bed. But Mom and Dad assure Splat that little Urgle doesn't eat cats, and that he'll only be there a few days while his mother is away on a trip. And anyway, this will be Splat's chance to try out some big brother skills. And once Splat gets the hang of it, he's soon helping out with Urgle's bath and lunch, and (GULP!) assisting with a diaper change--for which Splat dons his handy yellow hazmat suit.

Soon he's in the swing of things, having fun with little Urgle.

And when Urgle's mother comes to take him back home, Splat is sad and wonders when he'll ever get a chance to play big brother again. But with a smile and a wink, Mom says something intriguing....

"One day soon... very soon!"

There's a hint of big changes ahead in Rob Scotton's newest picture book, Splat the Cat: Splat and the New Baby (Harper, 2018). In this happy and heartwarming family life story, Scotton's always nervous preschooler gets a little preview of coming attractions in this long-running and successful series. As always, Splat's facial expressions and nervous tail telegram his anxiety as he encounters a new situation, while his parents help him succeed and gain competence and confidence in his new setting, and Scotton's charming illustrations tell the story well, with both humor and good will.

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