Lewis is a boy growing up with the struggles of most children his age. He does not like what he does while not at school. He feels what it is to not live in the posh <g data-gr-id="59">neighbourhoods</g> of a city, and have parents that have important jobs. He has a deep sense of deprivation of happiness from little things, and lies to the world around, pretending to have it all. Although he is good at what he does to help his dad in the small business, he never feels that’s enough to make him feel like there is nothing quite missing. One fine day, Lewis is brought before what he <g data-gr-id="58">realises</g> is missing from his life. Something hiding behind the bins.
That evening Lewis finds a stray dog – hurt, harassed, hungry, and scared. He had never had a dog because of the small place he <g data-gr-id="56">live</g> in, and to ensure hygiene at their little <g data-gr-id="45">resturaunt</g> of fish and chips below their flat. But he still knows how to be with a dog like that. “... Lewis knew you have to talk softly to a dog. He knew you have to let animals catch your scent.”
He gently holds out his hand for the dog to raise her head and sniff. At the beach, close to where Lewis lived, a group of older rowdy teenagers frequent who have big, scary dogs they train in sadistic ways. They make their dogs fight for amusement. Getting the dogs hurt is the game. But this dog that Lewis finds is not that kind of a dog. She sniffs his hand gently, responds to him, slowly eats what he feeds her, she looks at him with her dark, trusting eyes. But as their bond develops that evening, Lewis’ father spots them and his angry yells make the dog go away.
The next morning Lewis goes on a walk by himself and runs into a popular girl from his school that he is fond of. He sees her with her dog and lies to her that he is out looking for his own dog that has gone missing. He lies because he does not want to tell why he is sad but also wants to talk to her. At that <g data-gr-id="49">moment</g> he christens his dog “Scrap” because she was found around the bin. About a week later, Lewis happens to spot Scrap again, but in a cruel and dangerous condition. She was tied under the pier by those bully teens on a full moon night and left her for the <g data-gr-id="46">tide</g> to take.
Lewis can’t <g data-gr-id="47">not</g> help her out at this time; and while he manages to free her, he gets stuck under the pier amid the tide. It is Scrap now who brings Lewis’ father to the beach and gets him out from there safely.
This story does not end predictably with Lewis’ father’s change of heart that he agrees to take Scrap in his household for saving his son’s life. But instead, more realistically and pragmatically, the children find Scrap a shelter. And once the story of Scrap’s heroism is known, she becomes the mascot of the shelter she goes to. With illustrations by Ollie Cuthbertson, Judy Waite, through the story of Scrap, tells something about growing up, being excluded, and doing the right thing.
This book belongs to the Wired Up series that aims to encourage and supports reading practice by providing <g data-gr-id="62">gripping</g>, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, particularly children. A key take-home lesson from this story is that a humane streak is always there in everyone, waiting to surface.