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Reviewed by Nadine Molloy, Assistant Librarian, Remarkables Primary School, Queenstown, Otago
Opening sentence
Danny was feeling a little sad and bored.
I immediately had high expectations for this book due to the stunning cover and the prolific, acclaimed author. The endearing image of the adorable dog was instantly appealing - I actually reached out and gave him a stroke.

When I read on the title page "In loving memory . . . " I thought I knew where the book was heading, and prepared myself for it to be a tear-jerker and feature a sibling's death. Pleasantly, this is not the case. The story is very poignant, yet told simply. Scruff, the dog, rescues a boy from the sea.

The artwork alone will keep young children captivated for ages. They will enjoy checking out the images of the pebbles to see what they can see in them, just like they do with real pebbles on the beach. I looked for my favourite illustration, but there were so many I loved that I couldn't select only one. I was surprised near the beginning of the story when the text said the boy put his dog on the lead, but the illustration on the double-page spread showed Scruff off the lead. However, I decided that Danny must have let Scruff off once they got to the beach. Even once you've read this book and know the story, you'll return to it many times to enjoy the beautiful illustrations and share in the triumph of Scruff succeeding in a rescue mission.

The story will be a great introduction to promote discussions about water safety as well as being a book to enjoy purely in its own right.
Author & Illustrator: Anthony Browne
Publisher: Walker Books, Limited
ISBN: 9781529507058
Format: Hardback
Publication: July 2023
Ages: 3+ years
Themes: Adventure, relationship with pet, siblings