Another series that I've somehow missed until now is the Splat the Cat books by Rob Scotton. Splat Says Thank You! is, I believe, the seventh picture book in the series. There is also a series of Splat easy readers, and a Splat App. Splat is clearly quite a personage.
In Splat Says Thank You!, Splat is worried about his mouse friend Seymour, "covered in spots and not feeling well." Splat makes it his mission to "make Seymour smile." He does this by reading aloud a book that he has prepared for Seymour, called "a Friendship Book." Reading the book aloud, Splat recounts a series of the friends' adventures, and misadventures, ending each with "Thank you!". Like this:
""When I broke my mom's favorite ornament, you fixed it for me," said Splat.
"Except somehow, Mom noticed and I had to have a bath and go to bed early.
"Thank you, anyway.""
In truth, the prose in Splat Say Thank You! is pretty basic. Like this:
"When I overslept the next morning, you woke me up so that I wasn't late for school," said Splat. "Thank you!"
What makes the book stand out are Scotton's vibrant digital illustrations. The above is accompanied by a picture of Seymour jumping on a bicycle-type horn, with "HONK!" blaring into the ear of a recently-asleep Splat, cross-eyed and fuzzy-headed. Readers will also notice Splat's sardine skeleton comforter.
Many of the pictures are downright three-dimensional, with Splat's round eyes in particularly leaping from the page. The illustrations are a visual treat, in the use of textures and movement, in addition to being humorous. The page "Then when I climbed a tree to rescue my brother's kite and got stuck..." is accompanied by what looks like a photo of a kite wrapped around a sketched and painted tree. Splat hangs from a branch, looking hapless, with birds from all over the tree staring at him.
The incidents recounted in the book are slightly exaggerated versions of incidents that elementary school kids might experience, centered around building rocket ship cars, giving Valentine cards, and being in the school play. Each incident reveals, in a non-syrupy manner, the things that friends to do help each other. For instance, when someone "gave Kitten a bigger Valentine card" than the one Splat gave her, Seymour gave him a wagon full of cupcakes decorated with sardine skeletons. The humor of the skeletons cuts the sweetness of the gesture, and keeps Splat Says Thank You! from becoming cloying.
I can see why the Splat the Cat books are popular. The illustrations are dazzling and the plot, at least for Splat Says Thank You! shows a nice balance of real-kid issues and slightly goofy humor. Recommended for home and library use for kids three and up.
Publisher: HarperCollins (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).