Friday, 30 January 2015

Oliver & Patch

Oliver & Patch

By Claire Freedman and Illustrated by Kate Hindley
Published by Simon & Schuster



Oliver & Patch is the second book by duo Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley (they also penned the amazing The Great Snortle Hunt together) and what a lovely, heartwarming story it is. It's about a lonely boy befriending a lost dog but knowing he must do the right thing and help find the dog’s owner and possibly lose his new friend in the process.

Meet Oliver, he has just moved to the big city and misses his life in the country, but especially misses his friends. One morning, Oliver goes out to explore and when wondering where to go next, he spots something bright red, its a dog lead and attached to the end of it is a small, soggy dog all alone. The dog’s collar tag reads Patch.  As no one seems to be looking for Patch, Oliver decides to take Patch with him. They have a fun filled day getting to know each other and for the first time since moving to the city Oliver feels happy!


However, that night, Patch gazes longingly out the window and Oliver realises somewhere out there is Patch’s real home. Oliver wakes to an excited Patch and they play lots of different games; Hide and seek, tickle tummy, bury the biscuits and curl up and cuddle (their favourite). But at bedtime Patch is sad again and Oliver knows he has to do the right thing. So the next day Oliver makes some Found Posters (with Patch's help), but secretly hopes that no one will end up seeing them. As the days pass by no one calls, leaving Oliver to believe that Patch could be his dog forever.


One morning Oliver and Patch go exploring when suddenly Patch breaks free and runs off. When Oliver catches up, he finds that Patch has found his owner, a little girl called Ruby who is very happy to see her Patch. Oliver becomes very sad, as he knows this could be the last time he sees Patch. He then has an idea and asks Ruby if her and Patch would like to visit one day. Ruby agrees but suggests doing something then and there instead. Oliver then realises he hasn’t lost a friend but has found another one!



Claire Freedman is the author of the funny Underpants series (I reviewed Monsters Love Underpants a few months back), but with Oliver & Patch, she has created a beautifully told story with an uplifting ending.  The illustrations are well suited and will keep little people amused while the story is long enough to entertain older children. Kate Hindley’s illustrations are bright, colourful with good expressive character design, well suited to the story. If you have read The Great Snortle Hunt, look out for the little references.

Children and adults alike will enjoy this lovely story and the sweet message about doing the right thing even if you know it will hurt - Oliver & Patch will definitely tug at your heartstrings. The title is aimed at ages 3+ and is available at all good bookshops and online at the Simon & Schuster store.

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