Meet your new best four-legged friend!
Ruffles and the Red, Red Coat by David Melling, Nosy Crow
What's it about?
Ruffles loves jumping in puddles with his best friend Ruby, but he does not like his new red coat. After discarding this garment before splashing in puddles, Ruffles is cold and wet, while coat-wearing Ruby is warm and comfortable. Could there be benefits to wearing a coat after all?
What can we learn?
Outdoor clothing is not only practical, it helps us to enjoy our favourite activities too!
What makes this stand out?
I doubt there's a parent or carer who hasn't struggled to get their child to put or keep their jacket on at one point or another. This story helps impress the importance of wearing coats on children in a fun and playful way. There's lots of humour, sound words and repetition, plus gorgeous illustrations, which add to the story's appeal.
About those illustrations...
They're extremely cute and animated - Ruffles and Ruby practically bound off the page. Many illustrations resemble comic strips and it's possible to follow the story through the images alone, without reading the text. The striking palette, with its bold primary colours, is perfect for engaging children. The dogs' personalities are convincingly captured even though neither speaks. Thanks to the skilful portrayal of their expressions and body language (down to their tails), there's never any doubt about how the characters are feeling.
Why we love it...
Ruffles is as stubborn (and lovable) as a small child. Young people will relate to his reluctance to wear certain items of clothing and his delight in splashing in puddles too. Ruby and Ruffles are as endearing as real dogs, and their relationship is adorable. As it's possible to understand the story solely through the illustrations, this is a fantastic book for little readers to explore by themselves.
The gentle, eloquent language, with lines like "the rain was making puddles" creates a cosy atmosphere. I was delighted to discover a sequel, Ruffles and the Teeny Tiny Kittens, is releasing in July. This looks fantastic and incredibly cute too (see the cover and take a peek inside on the Nosy Crow website).
Why you need it...
Ruffles and Ruby's antics are hilarious and charming, and will help children become more positively disposed towards coats. Ruffles and the Red, Red Coat is ideal for introducing babies and toddlers to books and to dogs. This beautiful, cloth-bound edition would make a fabulous gift and has a classic quality. Ruffles is a wonderful character who is certain to join iconic animals Mog, Winnie the Pooh and Paddington in the children's literature hall of fame.
About the author-illustrator:
David Melling grew up in London and became a freelance illustrator in 1986 drawing for magazines and advertising agencies. In the late '80s he began work in several London-based animation studios drawing backgrounds and rendering animation cels for TV ads. He also worked on several animated TV films including Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs and Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit.
David illustrated his first children’s book in 1993. His first book as author and illustrator, The Kiss that Missed (2002), was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway award. He’s been shortlisted for many other awards including the Smarties Book Award. Hugless Douglas is one of David’s most popular picture book series and The Tale of Jack Frost (2004) was made into an animated TV film by the BBC. To date, David has created over 150 books, publishing in over 30 languages, selling over 4.5 million copies. You can see more of his work on his website.
A huge thank you to the lovely people in Nosy Crow for sending us a gift of this beautiful book - all opinions expressed are our own.