Every dog will have his day, even the scruffiest of strays.
Zommer’s Scruff is a homeless mutt. Percy the pug, Pixie the poodle, Sydney the dachshund, and Ada the Afghan have collars and “human friends” who groom them. Scruff is a dog’s dog: he goes his own way, he trespasses, and, most of all, he digs, usually in the wrong places, like the other dogs’ yards. Chased away by their cold, fussy human friends, Scruff makes for the great open spaces where stuffy old humans won’t smother his spirit. And lo, his nose leads him to the mother lode: too many bones for one dog to wrestle himself. When he tries to enlist the other four dogs to dig, they demur; when he mentions the word “bones”—hey, presto—their inner dogs emerge. Smart dogs, they bring their find to London’s Natural History Museum, where Professor Dinovsky assembles them into the “most ferocious dinosaur ever found.” In turn, Dinovsky becomes Scruff’s “human friend” but one that encourages his digging. The visual jokes will fly over young heads—the queen’s trademark coat and corgis—and “human friend” sounds graspingly correct (why not “caregiver” or “steward”?). Plus, with this bunch of human prigs and grumps, who needs “friends”? The muted, retro-style digital artwork is pretty enough, but it has little personality or warmth.
Good for Scruff, though. It’s nice to have a “friend” who appreciates your innate talent. (Picture book. 3-7)