Scarface Claw, hold tight! by Lynley Dodd
Penguin Random House, 2017. ISBN 9780143770985
(Age: 2-7) Rhyme. Rough and rugged Scarface Claw, arch-enemy of Hairy Maclary, is back in another adventure of his very own. As with all of Lynley Dodd's work this is an absolute joy to read aloud: a rollicking, fun adventure full of fabulous description and vivid imagery. In contrast to most of her books in the Hairy Maclary and Friends series, in which the animals are front and centre, people are the main action; Scarface is a bit of a bystander. This gives the story quite a different feel to others in the series. In fact it may disappoint some of Scarface's fans, who would probably like to see a little bit more of him and his antics! He is being a lazy old sleepyhead and is just drifting off to sleep when his comfortable spot begins to move. Off and away goes the car, with Scarface on top. Everyone the car passes tries to alert Tom that his cat is on the roof, but he is oblivious. Boys in the school bus hoot and whoop and Pete the plumber waves a sock. Even the police officer starts a chase. Eventually rescued, Scarface is expectedly crotchety (the illustration of his grumpy face seen through the rear view mirror is laughable) and is promptly driven home for a treat.
Fans of the series will recognise familiar characters and scenes within the illustrations and many people will identify with having a cat deciding to sleep somewhere inappropriate. There are plenty of brilliant and uniquely Lynley Dodd passages ('Everyone pointed and hollered and waved, they hooted and tooted and ranted and raved') and her fans will not be disappointed, but it really is a shame that we do not see more of Scarface as he is such a fun character.