Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Review + Q&A: The Scruffy Puppy by Holly Webb (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)

 April 2014, Stripes Publishing, 128 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: friendship, school mean girls, jealousy, getting a rescue dog, pedigree dogs, life of a dog owner,
Content: lots of smiles and tears

Summary from Little Tiger Press
A brand new tale in the Animal Stories series from best-selling author Holly Webb, this story is about the true meaning of friendship – and how there’s the perfect pup out there for everyone!

Bella instantly falls in love with her scruffy puppy Sid when she sees him at the animal shelter. She gets her family to agree that he’s the perfect pet for them and she cannot wait to bring him home!

But one person is not too impressed with Sid – Bella’s friend Megan, who is getting her own pedigree pup. Megan is pretty snooty about Bella’s beloved mongrel pet, and she begins to wonder if she’s that good a friend after all. Bella decides to enter Sid into a dog show, so she can prove for once and for all that all dogs are brilliant, no matter where they come from!

The Scruffy Puppy is the 27th book in Holly Webb’s Animal Stories series, a must for animal loving girls and boys aged six to eight years.

Nayuleska's thoughts
Holly's books are utterly heartwarming and this one made me cry a lot. Belle's experience of first getting Sid really captured all the emotions of getting a rescue pet - Ive got a rescue cat. I felt awful for Belle when her closest friend gained a mean streak, which sadly can happen a lot during school, and again Holly portrayed the mixed emotions realistically. 

I honestly thought the end would be different, but I was delighted with it. I'm not a dog person but Sid sounded such a sweetie, and Belle's life is certainly enriched by having him, taking care of him and putting his needs first. I liked the positivity from her parents, the support they gave her when they found out about her friendship issues, plus how they accepted her new friend,

Find out more on Holly's website.

Suggested read
More dog reads include Snow Dog by Malorie Blackman (Children's, 5 years +, 10E/10E)

Question and Answer with Holly

Nayu: I am a total Holly fangirl, so when an interview with Holly got mentioned there was some mega squee-ing going on in my head (my family were around...I try not to appear too mental) Squeee! I've only read a few of Holly's books, but they all have a fluffy feel to them (not literally...sadly). Being able to find out more about one of them is truly ace! A big thank you to Holly for answering the questions and creating such a cute read! 

Nayu Q1) Sid's behaviour is incredibly realistic, especially his reaction to Bella in the rescue centre. Is his story based on your own experience at all?

Holly: I've never actually rehomed a dog, only cats. But it just seemed that a dog would get disheartened after a long time in a rescue centre, and I'd looked at a lot of rescue centre websites (and made myself cry!) 

Nayu Q2) Bella's enthusiasm shines through about Sid, but it's such a shame that her so called friends are far from friendly. What made you decide to use this particular friendship conflict for Bella?
Holly: There's such a lot of focus on appearance for children, especially girls, at the moment. Bella's friends are really concerned with everything looking perfect, pets included. I wanted to highlight Sid's loving nature, and show how special he is, even if he isn't typically beautiful. Girls do often separate into quite difficult, divisive groups - I felt it was something that most girls would have experienced.

Nayu: Q3) Bella's parents notice something is wrong with Bella regarding her various friendships, why did you decide to tell this story this way, instead of Bella being able to pretend that everything was fine when it wasn't?
Holly: I think when friendships are going through problems, it's really important to be able to depend on your family. I didn't want Bella to feel totally abandoned! Also, through all of my books I've tried to make it clear that animals are a big family commitment, and everyone needs to be involved.

Nayu Q4) Would you ever consider writing a sequel about Bella & Sid? They make a sweet combination, and I can foresee much fun ahead with future shows for them. 
Holly: I've only ever written one sequel book in this series, Lost in the Storm, the sequel to Lost in the Snow. That was because I felt Fluff and Ella's story hadn't quite finished. But you've got me thinking now!

Nayu Q5) What's your favourite food and drink for while you write? 
Holly: Lots and lots of coffee! And toast. I might have to go and make some now...

No comments: