Mr Scruff by Simon James
This new picturebook by the author/illustrator of many gently humorous and thoughtful titles including Leon and Bob and Dear Greenpeace is great fun to read aloud! The brief rhyming text introduces a variety of dogs and their owners, deftly demonstrating the irregularity of English spelling in relation to sound correspondence in a similar way to Quentin Blake's Mister Magnolia. It has a lot going for it in terms of phonics, rhyming and prediction.
The pictures show the relationships between the dogs and their human companions. However, there is more to this book than naming these existing pairings between pets and people. Mr Scruff is one dog who does not have a companion – will he find one? The delightful denouement plays with the predictive rhyming element in an enjoyable way.
The illustrations feature a dual heritage family at the heart of the story set naturally and clearly within the context of a multicultural society without the need to reference this in the text.