Nurit Karlin's The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat
Book review by Dimitrios Sokolakis
A funny rhyming story
What happens when a cat, a rat called brat, a hat (huh?), a fish and a bat all claim a place on the mat? An obvious mess, with serious casualties quite likely to occur. (Poor fish.)
The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat is a short funny story using a lot of simple monosyllabic words easily read by the readers that it is addressed to. If you just stay on the apparent purpose of the story (i.e. to help preschool readers start reading by themselves); then nothing else shall bother you.
In Wilma the Witch’s house lives a fat cat and a pet rat that Wilma calls “her little brat.” The fat cat likes to lie in a vat whereas the rat likes settling on a mat.
As expected, the rat dislikes the cat. You can probably sympathize with it since it’s always stressful to live together with someone likely to eat you whenever he wants (remember Tweety and Sylvester?). The fat cat doesn’t seem to care about the rat; he looks too stuffed either way.
One night with Wilma out, fat cat settles on the mat. “Get off!...,” says the rat, “No, I won’t,” says the cat, “Then I will go get my bat,” warns the rat. “Get off!...,” says the bat as well, “No, I won’t,” says the cat again, “Then I will go get my hat” says the bat. The hat says (?) the same thing and the outcome is the same. “I shall sit on this mat for as long as I wish,” declares the fat cat. Hmm, “we shall see,” says the hat.
After a while, a new trick comes to mind: a fish in a dish. “Come and get it,” says the hat, but fat cat doesn’t move an inch.
Finally, a noise sounds; Wilma’s unmanned broom flies into the room. The broom zooms over everyone in the room and knocks the fish onto the hat, which lands on the rat, which lands on the cat. “Why is the fish out of the dish?” Wilma asks, while the rat complains about the cat sitting on its mat. “What makes you think this is YOUR mat?” Wilma asks her rat brat.
Fat cat is pleased, gets up, stretches, eats the fish and leaves the mat for his vat. The mat is now relieved. Fat cat rules!
The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat strengths:
It’s a book having a specific purpose: to get young readers to read and spell little words and distinguish those ones that sound the same but have a totally different meaning. If that's all you want the book for, then nothing else will likely bother you.
Before writing the review though, to be honest, I read some of what's been written about this book. I’ve seen comments such as: “If you are raising nice, polite children, stay away from this book,” or “This book uses words like ‘hate’ and ‘stupid’. These words are wholly unacceptable….” Come on parents, I think you are exaggerating. We live in a modern stressful world and a bit of fun is ok.
I reassure you that this book alone won't make your precious ones rude, and please keep in mind that rats and cats do not usually get along so, if they had human feelings, it would be normal for a rat to hate a cat.
The illustrations are fine. I always give extra credit to writers that are also illustrators; it reveals a quite talented person.
Room for improvement:
Ok, as I say in my bio, I am not really enthusiastic about stories that do not put forward a positive message. This story doesn’t seem to provide any message at all. On the other hand, its main purpose is the one I've already discussed; plus the fact that it’s also quite funny.
The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat: A fat cat, a rat, a bat, a hat and a… mat: a witchy recipe for success!
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