Sunday 26 September 2021

Scruffy and Silk

Scruffy and Silk written by Karen Kepert and illustrated by Kaz Clarke (self-published) ISBN 978 0 6451731 0 9 RRP $14.99 PB $19.99 HB

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

This story is about Scruffy, a small dog and Silk, a cat which are both owned by a man called Mr Prim. Scruffy can’t seem to get anything right. He jumps around Mr Prim’s feet, barks at cars, and eats his dinner noisily. Silk is much quieter with her eating, purrs at Mr Prim while he strokes her, and meows musically. She gets to sleep on the end of Mr Prim’s bed, while Scruffy is on the floor. But when a thief comes during the night it is Scruffy who hears him, knocks him over, his loud bark alerting their owner. At the end Mr Prim tells his pets they are both wonderful – in their own ways.

The simple text uses alliteration, repetition, and descriptive action words aimed at early primary school readers. Scruffy is an appealing hairy little terrier and quite a contrast to the elegant and decorous Silk. The hand-drawn pencil illustrations by Kaz Clarke bring the story to life, with Scruffy’s expressive eyes and Silk’s monobrow and bow tied around the top knot on her head.

Karen Kepert worked previously as a literacy and numeracy teacher and as a primary school chaplain. She has written this book which explores sibling rivalry and acceptance by others to help children deal with issues in self-esteem and social skills. Scruffy and Silk is suitable for ages three up to eight years old. 

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