Form detail:Picture book
Audience:Juvenile: Age (years) 3 - 7
Dimensions:8.27in x 8.85 x 0.47 in | 380 gr
Page Count:32 pages
Illustrations:Color illustrations throughout
'A charmingly funny and unique picture book story that is sure to charm dog-mad little ones and their parents'.
--Midwest Book Reviews
'This super fun, bold and scribbly book about dogs and their owners is a lovely one for young ones and even older babies who will like the bold lines and contrast of the drawings'. --BookTrust
'This dual benefit of friendship is lovely to witness: explaining to children that friends should be equal partners is an important message to come from this book'.
--The Value's Bookshelf
'Alice Bowsher’s bold, free line work is pleasingly spontaneous looking, and her simple characters have life and verve (especially the dogs)'. --The AOI
'Nourishing and hilarious twenty minutes'.
--School Reading List
What came first - dogs that look like their owners or owners that look like their dogs?
I wanted a dog... This one was perfect! Nobody wanted him because he looked scruffy.... but I’m a scruffy guy so that suited me just fine. After picking out the scruffiest dog at the pound, the narrator is surprised to find that Scruff isn’t what he initially seemed. He doesn’t want to catch sticks... or roll in the mud or swim in the pond. What could be the problem? It turns out that Scruff just loves being pampered! So the narrator goes along with it. They wash, brush, trim and polish together, until they are anything but scruffy! In their newly groomed state they go to the dog show... but have they done enough to win...? A funny story that is sure to charm dog-mad little ones and their parents.
'Scruff is an adorable picture book for young readers. I can imagine that the bright, bold illustrations would be appealing to many children and the language is perfectly suited to new readers. Having said that, the funny basis of the book, "What came first, dogs that look like their owners or owners that look like their dogs?" will also provide entertaining reading to their parents or teachers.
Three Values I have chosen to explore in this blog are: friendship, adaptability and love. Firstly, friendship will be easily recognised in this story by children as young as three. The way the two characters mirror each other's behaviour and appearance is a sign of their close bond. It is never stated that the man is lonely, but he purposefully picks a dog that nobody else has chosen and does everything with him. This outward display of friendship is both touching and opens plenty of opportunity for discussion about what makes a friendship. Little children often adore their pets and can easily talk about the nature of their relationship. In this instance, the dog makes the man change for the better, as well as the other way around. This dual benefit of friendship is lovely to witness: explaining to children that friends should be equal partners is an important message to come from this book.
Secondly, the Value of adaptability is very apparent in this book. As teachers and parents, we teach children that they need to be flexible in life and willing to make changes. This book shows the main character making some changes in order to make his little dog happy. He learns he is happy in the process too, and maybe that assumptions he had made about both Scruff and himself were not quite right. A great way of opening up a conversation about whether and how we change over time.
Lastly, I would explore the Value of love with this book. There is a great deal of love shown between the man and his newfound best friend. Asking children to pick out the body language between the two that shows they love each other is a great exercise for both emotional development and inference. It is the same with the other owners and their dogs at the show. We should not disregard the relationship between humans and animals when talking about love with children. This could be one of the most powerful relationships they may have in their lives!
I really enjoyed this simple, yet deep book. It has lovely moral messages for children to explore, but is playful and funny at the same time. I love the style author and illustrator Alice Bowsher uses and can't wait to read some more of the books she has illustrated. I will definitely be sharing this with my three-year-old twin nieces!' --The Value's Bookshelf
'Playing with the idea that people look like their dogs, this super fun, bold and scribbly book about dogs and their owners is a lovely one for young ones and even older babies who will like the bold lines and contrast of the drawings. Toddlers and preschoolers will like the dogs and the simple text, and parents will also get a lot out of this simple but fun story'. --BookTrust
'White backgrounds and bright colors within the loose linework create simple layouts for showcasing humor and expressions'.
SJL / FUSE 8 BLOG REVIEW: I don’t know why I felt so drawn to this silly little story, but I did. There’s just something charming about it. Wouldn’t you agree?
'This book is adorable! It is told in a few comical words, and the writing is just perfect for little readers. The story is engaging and fun!
The illustrations really add a lot to the story! I like the art style with thick lines and bright colors. It is sure to capture the attention of little kids. Each scene is clean and simple without a lot of clutter on the page, and I like that'. --Luminous Libro
'I always like to comment on the physical properties of children’s books and Alice Bowsher’s Scruff is robust and durable with a cover that would easily wipe clean from sticky fingers, making it ideal for home or school use. The illustrations are naive in style, appealing to young children, whilst being entertaining and supportive of the text, helping language acquisition, as well as being funny.
I loved the fact that Scruff’s owner is not Caucasian as this helps celebrate diversity and shows young children that people of all ethnicities have status. The majority of the other people in the book are multi-cultural in appearance too. There’s a smashing story in Scruff that celebrates being different and helps children explore how we judge (quite literally) by appearances. Scruff does not behave like ‘normal’ dogs and I very much liked the concept of being individual because too frequently children are expected to behave as an homogeneous mass. The ending to the story shows clearly that we all have a talent for something even if it isn’t necessarily what we set out to do so that children can learn to accept themselves and find their own winning ways.
Scruff is an entertaining and informative book that could lead to all kinds of further child development as well as being enjoyed just as a story. I could envisage counting the dogs and owners at the dog show, looking for pictures of animals that look like people and finding out about them, talking about how to look after pets, producing artwork of pets and animals and so on. Scruff is a small book that packs a punch'. --Linda's Book Bag
'Nourishing and hilarious twenty minutes'. --School Reading List
'Alice Bowsher’s bold, free line work is pleasingly spontaneous looking, and her simple characters have life and verve (especially the dogs). A fun book, well paced and great for reading aloud'.
"Scruff" by storyteller and artist Alice Bowsher is a charmingly funny and unique picture book story for children ages 3-7 that is sure to charm dog-mad little ones and their parents -- making it highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections'.
--Midwest Book Reviews
'Striking illustrations and use of colour bring this simple narrative tale to life and a smile to your face'. --Book Activist
'The story is beautifully told and the illustrations are whimsical with a homespun vibe. The text is sparse and the story is simple, short and charming. It's a fun read to share'. --Storywraps
'Digital and cartoonish illustrations tell the story of a scruffy guy who adopts a scruffy dog and names him Scruff. The look is arty, with a mix of sophisticated colors (a pale aqua, bright red, and beige) and a heavy, Sharpie-like scribble for Scruff’s fur and the bushy beard and hair of his master. Endpapers cleverly shift from a dark, tangled mess in the front to a neatly groomed overlap at the back'. --Youth Services Book Reviews
'Dog lovers will rejoice, as here is a quirky, funny book with heart, capturing the pet/owner relationship in a totally original way. The story of transformation is short and sweet, with the real high being the illustrations. The art is dynamic and original, giving real style to the story. T enjoyed it and told me, “I really liked Scruff the dog.” We reckon you will too!' --Father Reading & T
'Not all dogs are the same - some like to roll, some love to swim, others like... to keep themselves clean. This charming and funny kid's book follows Scruff as he is picked up from the pound by his new equally dishevelled owner and, together, they find out that life is better with a bit of pampering. Beautifully told and illustrated by top shop favourite Alice Bowsher'. --Colours May Vary