Ruggles by Anne Fine and Ruth Brown

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Ruggles by Anne Fine and Ruth Brown

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A welcome reissue of this delightful book which will be loved by anyone who has ever had one of those difficult dogs. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: July 2010
Publisher: Andersen Press
ISBN: 978-1849392068

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Every dog owner has known a dog like Ruggles: they're so good at escaping from where ever they are that they're generally known as Houdini. Ruggles had it all worked out, from the opportunist hop over the fence aided by a pile of newspapers, a bucket and the rabbit hutch to who would snitch on him if he met them (unaccompanied) in the park. The dog lady knows him well and whilst you wouldn't quite call them friends it's obvious that Ruggles knows when he's met his match and hops in the van without complaint.

Every season of the year requires its own strategy for making an escape. No one can shovel snow without leaving the gate open for at least a few minutes and the strong winds of autumn mean that a weakened fence can be very vulnerable. Ruggles' owner, Sue can't understand why he keeps running off, particularly when he gets two good walks every day, but there is something that can tempt him not to stay home…

You can always rely on Anne Fine for a good story and she has this dog nailed perfectly in a story which is told in simple language but which doesn't patronise the young reader. (Young reader? It was perfect for me!) You can't help laughing at Ruggles even though he is being naughty and anyone who has lived with a dog will realise exactly what he's doing. I've got to admit though that the most perfect part of the book for me was the illustrations by Ruth Brown. Think of the dog's name and then put it on four legs and make all the bits flap about (and up and down) as he moves. Colour him grey, white, black and perhaps a little bit of brown and you have Ruggles. Look into his eyes and you'll be lost.

I suspect that it's a book which will appeal more to children who live in doggy households, but no one, unless they really do dislike dogs, is going to take exception to it. Strangely enough, it's not a book which is likely to leave you with a child pestering to get a dog, as Ruggles' independence comes across very strongly. This is a dog who will deal with you on his terms.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you're a fan of Beagles then you might enjoy Gus by Fiona Louise Bate, but if any dog appeals to you then you must try Dogs by Emily Gravett. Slightly older dog lovers will enjoy Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan. Ruth Brown also illustrated The Quayside Cat by Toby Forward.

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