The Way of Dog

Zana Fraillon

The Way of Dog
University of Queensland Press
3 May 2022

The Way of Dog

Zana Fraillon

Be strong. Be fierce. Life is more than a concrete floor.

Scruffity is born into the harsh, grey world of a puppy farm. Taken from his mamma and locked in a concrete cage, what he yearns for most is Family. To belong is The Way of Dog. But no one wants him.

Just as his chances of adoption grow dangerously thin, Scruffity is set free by a boy as unwanted and lonely as he is.

Outside, Scruffity learns all about The Way of Dog - it is to run, to dig, to howl and, biggest of all, to love. But when tragedy strikes, Scruffity is suddenly all alone.

How does a dog find his way home when he never had one to begin with?


A little pup in a cage in a barn is at the very beginning of his life. Separated from his mother he longs for happiness and a family. That dream propels this adventure. As his story progresses, little Scruffity encounters many more people and other animals – some friendly, some sly, some kind and some cold. He’s learning what it is to be a little dog alive in a world of danger and beauty!

Many readers will already be familiar with Zana Fraillon’s much lauded books. In 2017 Fraillon won our Young Adult prize for The Bone Sparrow. The Way of Dog is a verse novel, and the language used is entirely unique but always delivered with clarity. This book has a timeless quality that feels like the work of Kate DiCamillo.

Sean Buckingham provides beautiful illustrations of the wiry little hound and his world. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself a little misty-eyed as you are reading this one. It’s a book that is heartbreaking yet equally heartwarming, and it has been written with a great deal of care and compassion. The language is so alive that it will certainly make a wonderful read aloud. Highly recommended for ages 8–12.

Kim Gruschow is from Readings st Kilda

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