Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon by Chris McKimmie

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Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon by Chris McKimmie

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: An unusual book that is a bit Marmite, but for everyone who dislikes it there's bound to be someone who likes the bizarre style, story and presentation.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 32 Date: April 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin Children's Books
ISBN: 9781743361542

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I got this book for a friend’s little girl who is called Scarlett. It’s not a name you find as a heroine a whole lot of the time, and as someone with a similarly slightly less common/popular name, I could identify. So I got it based on the title, knowing little else about it. Now, having read it a few times…I’m still not sure I know what’s going on. This is an unusual (i.e. quirky or weird depending on how generous you’re being) take on a children’s book, and it takes a little getting used to.

We start with Scarlett who cannot sleep. It’s the moon’s fault, y’see. It’s scratching the sky, whatever that means. From this point, until bedtime the next night, we join Scarlett on a bizarre adventure in what is probably dreamland. She counts sheep, one of whom has Goldilocks issues. She flies by a lake of swans and has a go on a playground while getting sad thinking about a loss of two dogs (at least we have to assume a Sparky who died is probably a pet of some sort). It never all comes together. It never really makes sense. It’s like an inside joke you’re not invited to enjoy or figure out.

Part of the reason it’s so hard to keep up with this book is because a lot of the text is drawn, bubble letter style, rather than printed. It looks like a child’s school project, and from the notes at the back it may well include some authentic contemporary illustrations from children in the author’s life. The thing is, like with a school project, it’s not really of much interest to anyone not directly involved in the child’s life.

I didn’t like it that much, I think because I didn’t understand it. Usually differences are to be celebrated and applauded, but this book is just a bit too different for me, and thinking of the children I read to regularly, I’m struggling to find one in my mind who might take to it. It looks a bit handmade (but not in an artisan way) or half finished (but not understandably so like Sagrada Familia).

At the same time, the topic (I think!) it deals with – the death of a pet – is a topical one for many families, so at the right time and the right place, in the right circumstances I could, possibly, see an audience for this one, though I would recommend skipping the macabre dedication page which includes a list of now-deceased family pets and the method through which they died hit by a falling tree, accidentally strangled you get the morbid picture.

Thanks go to the publishers for sending us this book.

If you favour the odd over the ordinary, you must check out Top Ten Quirky Kids' Books

Buy Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon by Chris McKimmie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon by Chris McKimmie at

Buy Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon by Chris McKimmie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon by Chris McKimmie at


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