CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 3. . . .September 17, 2010
Author Helen Stewart came to British Columbia in the mid-60’s as part of that era’s back-to-the-land movement. Her experiences sheep farming and raising a family in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains are told in the book Berkeley to the Barnyard: A Far Cry from Home.
Stewart is both the writer and illustrator of The Patched Heart, one of several picture books she has produced. This is a sweet story about a dog named Big Puppy who collapses on the beach while out for a run with canine friend Mossy. Rushed to the clinic by the Newfoundland rescue dogs, Big Puppy is examined and then taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, the loyal Mossy is left behind in the confusion.
A hospital is a busy place, making it difficult to rest. Patch grew weary of the constant coming and going, the lights blinking, and alarm bells sounding.
His room became a gathering place – and even Mother Goose came to visit. She fluffed her feathers and settled herself down in a motherly way to read stories. Like magic, each listener was carried off to a different world, a world of calm, or fantasy, or adventure.
We know this book is about the value of therapy dogs, but young readers will accept it mainly as a story about steadfast friendship. It will be helpful to children who are themselves dealing with a serious illness or who have family in the hospital.
The Patched Heart was originally published in 2007 and received a 2008 Mom’s Choice award, prizes which “[honor] excellence in family-friendly media, products and services.” The Patched Heart is a worthy addition to school and public library collections.
Ellen Heaney is Head, Children’s Services, at the New Westminster Public Library, New Westminster, B.C.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.