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Literature / Snot Stew

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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" that 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, who constantly snaps and snarls at the kittens. When he finally manages to catch Toby, the mother yells at her husband, blaming him for Butch being so vicious.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ultimately, Toby survives his mauling. However, his close encounter with Butch cost him his tail, and the book ends with him still drowsy from the emergency surgery that saved his life, weakly crying and agreeing with his sister that they should never play 'snot stew' again.
  • 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...
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Toby repeatedly teases Butch by jumping into his pen and escaping through a hole in the fence]]. He also bullies his sister and eats all her food. This winds up biting him in the butt quite literally when he can't fit through the hole anymore.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Kikki and Toby hear their owners' kids having contradicting arguments, so they decide to do the same thing and think it's a game called "snot stew". Toby goes too far with it and steals Kikki's food, and he ends up getting stuck in the fence due to his Balloon Belly. His tail gets torn off by a vicious dog named Butch, so he and Kikki promise each other not to play "snot stew" afterwards to keep an incident like that from occurring again.
  • Mondegreen Gag: An in-universe mondegreen names the book, which comes from the kitten protagonists mishearing the human children arguing: "Is not!" "Is too!" becomes "S'not!" "S'tew!"
  • Mood Whiplash: Though mostly a light-hearted comedy, it takes a darker turn when Butch finally catches Toby.
  • 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.
  • Rage-Breaking Point: Kikki hits hers when Toby takes their games of 'Snot stew' too far and won't let her eat any of the actual stew the mother puts out for them.
  • 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.
  • Toilet Humor: Toby repeatedly uses a mocking rhyme about a Potty Emergency: "Fatty, fatty, two-by-four!/Couldn't get through the bathroom door!/So he did it on the floor!"
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Stew. The title is actually a mondegreen based on what Kikki and Tobi think the kids are saying when they fight, sparking a lot of confusion.