Oliver and Patch by Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley

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Oliver and Patch by Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Loneliness is never a good thing, whether you're five or fifty five, but fortunately this a story about moving to a new city, with a happy ending.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: January 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780857079541

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Moving house is never easy, especially when you're a child. Oliver has moved from the countryside to the city, and he finds that not only is he having to adapt to his new surroundings, but he's also dealing with terrible loneliness, as he misses all his friends dreadfully. One day, when Oliver can't bear being shut up inside any longer, he ventures out into the big city...will he manage to find a friend?

If we overlook the glaring issue of Oliver, who surely can't be older than about 8, leaving home alone and wandering around the city with no parent or guardian in sight then this is actually a lovely book! On his wanders, Oliver finds a dog who appears to be as lonely as him. Oliver can't leave the dog by himself, so they go for a walk together, playing in the park and eating ice-cream! Oliver finally starts to feel happy, but even though they have a lot of fun together the dog still seems sad when they get back to Oliver's house, and Oliver knows that somewhere, out there, is the dog's real home.

The next day they spend more time together, again having lots of fun, but then at bedtime Patch the dog seems sad again, and Oliver knows that he has to do The Right Thing. The next day he makes posters, putting them up around town and asking in shops and houses if anyone knows of a missing dog. Nobody calls, and Oliver is happy and begins to believe that Patch will be his dog forever. Then one day, in the park, they see a little girl sitting on the swings and she looks very sad and lonely. Patch runs over to her and, of course, it is her dog. Poor Oliver! Don't worry folk, we're in picture book world here, and although Patch goes home to live with his real owner, Ruby, she becomes friends with Oliver, and so Oliver makes a real friend at last, and still gets to spend time with Patch too. Phew!

This is a very engaging story. I really felt for poor Oliver, and having moved house many times myself as a child I could identify with that anguished look on his face as he stares out of the window of his new home. The growing friendship between Oliver and Patch is sweet to behold, and in that moment, when Patch sees Ruby, you really do feel a little heartbroken for poor Oliver. The story has a soft, slow pace to it, and so it's a lovely bedtime read and leaves you with a nice warm feeling inside.

The pictures, too, go towards making this a really beautiful book. Patch is delightful - exactly the kind of ragamuffin dog small children like to befriend. And Oliver, with his large head and appealing expressions, is endearing too. The art work is all very colourful, with small individual pictures as well as double page spreads full of life and movement. The hustling, bustling people of the city seemed like realistic head-down Londoners to me, and Patch's antics reminded me of my own childhood dog.

This is a sweet story, easily understood by toddlers but also nice to share with those in the first few years of school. It is, of course, ideal for any child who has just endured the trauma of moving house, but I think anyone, really, would enjoy this lovely friendship story.

For more moving house reassurances you could try The Red Boat by Hannah Cumming or My New Home by Marta Altes.

Buy Oliver and Patch by Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Oliver and Patch by Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy Oliver and Patch by Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Oliver and Patch by Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley at Amazon.com.


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