When my kids and I borrowed "Splat the Cat" from the library recently, I had high hopes. As I have probably mentioned before, I am a sucker for picture books with clever rhymes and/or beautiful illustrations. I must admit, however, that I was disappointed with the book. Sure, the illustrations were fabulous and the characters endearing, but I thought the story itself fell short.
During another visit to the library, I stumbled upon the follow-up book, "Love, Splat" and thought I would give Splat another chance. I am so glad I did, as "Love, Splat" is one of the most charming picture books I have read. The story, of course, is centered around Splat, a scruffy black primary school aged cat who is smitten with a pretty and fluffy white classmate named Kitten. The book begins with Splat waking up on the morning of Valentines Day, feeling rather anxious. He has made cards for all of the cats in his class, but his "very best writing" was saved for a special card made for Kitten. Convinced that his affection for Kitten was unrequited, Splat was reluctant to give his card to her. When a flashy rival shows up, Splat feels totally inadequate and decides to toss the card he made for Kitten in the bin to avoid embarrassment. Unbeknownst to Splat, Kitten sees the card go in the bin and we soon learn that sometimes things aren't quite what they seem.
The book's appeal lies not only with the touching storyline, but also with the incredible illustrations. The cats are so 3-dimensional and fluffy looking that at times I found myself stroking the page in an attempt to pat them. The illustrations are beautifully detailed and humorous in their own right. We enjoyed trying to find Splat's rodent companion on each page (one one page the poor mouse is stuck to the wall with sticky tape).
Rob Scotton has also written a series of books featuring "Russell The Sheep" - I think I might just have to go looking for these as well :)