Cat is back, a busy schedule of naps interrupted by some substitute teaching when Ms. Melba gets sick. Will Cat survive?
It turns out that missing naps isn’t the worst part—attempts to escape out the window or hide under the desk show that kittens are out of Cat’s comfort zone. But the unseen narrator’s guilt trip about Ms. Melba’s past kindnesses gets the feline moving, albeit reluctantly. But what to do with all those identical-looking kittens? Music? Sure, but when the recorders prove discordant, Cat breaks out an electric guitar, which disturbs the class next door. Building time is more successful, but Cat again goes too far with art time, providing bowls of paint and demonstrating how to dip paws in and make prints on the wall. Uh-oh. Ms. Melba’s back (from the vet, evidently, as she is in an Elizabethan collar that will have pet owners chuckling). In a clean-up worthy of The Cat in the Hat, the kittens pitch in to save the day. And when asked what they learned, they use signs like Cat’s to explain. And Cat? Cat’s learned that kittens aren’t so bad after all. Cat’s droll expressions and signs are highlights, but while amusing, this entry doesn’t rise to the level of predecessors; Cat doesn’t walk that fine line between nasty and nice in the way that readers have come to expect, and the give-and-take with the narrator also isn’t as much fun.
Not Cat’s funniest outing, but readers may get a kick out of imagining what adventures they might have with their own substitute teachers. (Picture book. 4-8)