Scruffle-Nut – some online reviews

Today I discovered six lovely online reviews on Scruffle-Nut which was published by New Frontier in October last year and illustrated beautifully by Owen Swan.

Owen and I both traveled to London for the launch at Nomad Books in Fulham Road, London where we celebrated the book with a gorgeous bunch of children, their parents and friends and we all nibbled on chocolate squirrels and strawberries.

Photo by Corinne on October 05, 2019.

The reviews all touched my heart, and links are below as well as three of them cut and pasted here.

Excellent Teacher’s Notes at this link:


by Corinne Fenton

illustrated by Owen Swan

reviewed by Mia Macrossan – Story Links

The story starts quietly  with a memory as winter leaves tumble and twirl in the park.

Sitting on a bench in Central Park grown-up Olivia notices a squirrel which immediately takes her back to another time when she was a young girl and noticed a shy squirrel with a stumpy tail being bullied by the other squirrels.

Over the next couple of days the young Olivia befriends Scruffle-Nut as she has named him and gives him crumbs from her pocket. She watches as each time he cleverly manages to elude the Bully-Bunch, the boisterous group of other squirrels who also struggle for the food.

There are echoes here of what is happening in her own life. Winter days and weeks drift by as Olivia  stays inside as  Nanny says it is too cold to go to the park.

Will Olivia ever see Scruffle-Nut again?

This gentle simple story about a significant moment in a young girl’s life has an underlying message about human behaviours and the power of memory perfectly complemented by the soft tones of Owen Swan’s carefully observed illustrations.

New Frontier 2019 Picture Book Hardback $24.99 Age 3 – 6 ISBN : 978-1-925594-76-8

Scruffle-Nut   –    CHILD The Real Guide for Parents

by Corinne Fenton, illustrated by Owen Swan (New Frontier Publishing, hardback, $24.99) Age Group 4-8 years.

An elderly woman, sitting on the park bench, dreams back in time to a wintry park visit when she was younger with her Nanny. Back then the older girls shunned her for being different, so Olivia knows what it feels like to be the odd one out. Amongst the snowy park surroundings, she encounters a small stumpy-tailed (different) squirrel among a group of squirrels searching for nuts.

The Nanny tries to stop her feeding this squirrel but Olivia can tell that the squirrel is lonely. Olivia is illustrated wearing glasses which you notice at the beginning so she seems different from the other children. The muted colours perfectly illustrate a neutral palette of a past era.

Scruffle-Nut –  Red Reading Hub – Jill R Bennett
Corinne Fenton and Owen Swan
New Frontier Publishing

‘As winter leaves tumble and twirl / a wisp of memory / wraps itself about me / and whispers me back / to long ago … ‘

So begins a gentle tale told by Olivia whose childhood memories we share in this sensitively told, equally sensitively illustrated story with its soft-spoken bullying theme.

As a young child her Nanny Clementine would take her to the park and there one day she sees a shy stumpy-tailed little squirrel that is chased away by the squirrels with large bushy tails.

It’s the beginning of a friendship that develops between child and squirrel – a squirrel that is, like the girl, a little different from others.

Time passes, the days turn colder until the snow falls and visits to the park come to a halt and Olivia is left wondering whether Scruffle-Nut, as she calls her friend, will be able to ward off attacks from the Bully-Bunch, the name she gives to the bushy-tail squirrels.

Although she never sees her squirrel friend again, he stays in her heart along with the lesson she learned from him so long ago.


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