Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Mr. Scruff pairs perfect dogs with their perfect humans

Mr. Scruff, by Simon James, (Sept. 2019, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536209358

Ages 3-7

Every dog has a human companion that’s just perfect for them: Polly and Molly have matching hairdos; Minnie and Vinnie are laid-back, with floppy ‘dos to match. But Mr. Scruff, sitting alone in a shelter, waits for the day when his person walks in the door. When a young boy named Jim walks in and sees Mr. Scruff, the two bond quickly; despite his parents’ protestations that “he’s so big, and you’re so small!”, Jim takes Mr. Scruff home. Meanwhile, Mr. Gruff arrives at the shelter and finds a pup that he decides to bring home, too. He names the pup Tim, and as the story notes, “and though it doesn’t rhyme, it’s all worked out just fine”. A sweet, heart-warming story about the relationship between humans and their dogs, Mr. Scruff is a rhyming storytime hit.

Simon James’ watercolor illustrations give readers cuddly dogs and smiling, friendly human counterparts strolling through cities and parks. The warm colors are comforting and add to this “adopt-don’t-shop” story. Mr. Scruff is a big, scruffy mutt and steals the reader’s heart with his facial expressions; first, tentative, later, with a smile as he heads out toward his forever home. Mr. Gruff is a scruffy human whose heart is stolen by teeny tiny Tim, who he tucks into the crook of his arm and brings home. Adorable, cuddly, and easy to read aloud, Mr. Scruff is a good choice for your dog fans.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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