Life can be tough when you're just a kitten. After their mother decides her latest litter is ready to fend for themselves and abandons them in their barnyard nest, Kikki and her brother Toby are discovered and adopted by a human family. But humans are so strange, like that game the smaller ones keep playing...
Penned by Bill Wallace. The story is purely from Kikki's Point of View, exploring everyday life through the eyes of a curious and somewhat timid kitten struggling to comprehend human behavior. Though mostly lighthearted and a bit humorous, there are several darker elements, such as the emphasis placed on how terrifying it is to have an enraged human many times your own size bearing down on you, and the backyard dog, Butch, is portrayed as a shaggy black monster who is almost as alien to the cats as the people are.
The title comes from the 'game' the children keep playing: arguing "Is not!" "Is too!" "Isnot!" "Istoo!" "Snot!" "Stew!" Toby and Kikki eventually try it out; this leads to an obvious moral delivered via Nightmare Fuel.
Snot Stew contains examples of:
- Alliterative Title: "Snot Stew".
- Animal Talk: The kittens can understand human speech, but can't breach the communication barrier. Also, they can't understand Butch's barking and growling.
- Beware of Vicious Dog: Butch, of course.
- Bittersweet Ending: Toby lives through his mauling, but loses his tail. The book ends with him still drowsy from the emergency surgery that saved his life, crying weakly while Kikki tries to comfort him.
- Cat/Dog Dichotomy: Kikki and Toby's mother warns them about Butch, saying that "he would just love to eat a soft, juicy kitten."
- Cats Are Mean: Played with; Kikki is a sweetheart, while her brother is a bit of a brat.
- Cowardly Lion: When Butch finally catches Toby, Kikki leaps onto the dog's back to distract him.
- Dramatic Irony: Invoked with the rhyme Toby uses to tease Butch: "Fatty, fatty, two-by-four!/Couldn't get through the bathroom door!/So he did it on the floor!" Comes back to haunt him when he can't escape through the hole in Butch's fence anymore...
- Everything's Cuter With Kittens
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Toby bullies his sister and eats all her food, growing larger and larger. He also teases Butch, even jumping down into his backyard pen and escaping through a hole in the fence before getting caught. Turns out these two hobbies don't mesh together well...
- Humans Though Kitten Eyes
- Mood Whiplash: Though mostly a light-hearted comedy, it takes a darker turn when Butch attacks.
- Parental Abandonment: Daddy is never seen; Mommy leaves early on after deciding the kittens are able to fend for themselves now. May or may not be a justified trope, as this is how cats are.
- Shrinking Violet: Kikki. At one point, almost a full chapter is spent hiding beneath the couch, and it becomes one of her 'safe spots'.
- This Is My Human: Kikki and Toby think of Ben and Sarah as their pets.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Stew. The title is actually a Mondegreen based on what she thinks the kids are saying when they fight, sparking a lot of confusion.