It's the start of winter, and Patrick is beginning to feel crowded out of his own family. His father's friend, Linda, and her seven-year-old daughter, Claire, are coming for dinner again. By t
It's the start of winter, and Patrick is beginning to feel crowded out of his own family. His father's friend, Linda, and her seven-year-old daughter, Claire, are coming for dinner again. By the time spring arrives, not only is Patrick's father planning to marry Linda, but she and Claire will be coming to live with them at the summer's end. That just won't do. So Patrick comes up with a big idea. He'll build a tree house where he can stretch out his arms and breathe. But wait. Will his father allow it? Where will he find the perfect tree? Who will give him a hand with the construction? And, most importantly, will his own tree house really be the hideaway he hopes for, especially from the irritating Claire?
As the autumn season arrives, Patrick discovers some surprising answers to these questions — and learns a little about the meaning of family.
There are nearly a 500, 000 stepfamilies in Canada. Toronto author Susan Hughes' book, which reflects the four seasons and Patrick's transitions, is intended for children seven and up. It also teaches empathy, acceptance and the true meaning of family."
"This gentle story touches on themes of being a younger brother, a friend, and a son as well as how to handle life situations that include the death of a parent, embarking on a new family unit with a step-parent and step-siblings, and on learning about how to be more generous with your relationships in a family. Each of these aspects is carefully written into a simple narrative of the passing of a year and how Patrick feels and thinks about his world. Readers will enjoy the kindness and learning experiences that Patrick faces and hopefully will learn how they, too, can be just as kind and welcoming when life changes dramatically.
Rated "E" for Excellent"
-- Resource Links Magazine
-- Waterloo Region Record
"Given the staggering amount of 'broken' families, this is really a great book for kids. It deals with the loss of a parent as well as learning to accept a new one. It covers most family paradigm changes. Kids will enjoy the frolicking and play and sympathize with Patrick."
View Biographical note
Susan Hughes has written over 25 children's books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her books include Off to Class, Case Closed?, Earth to Audrey, Virginia, The Island Horse, and The Wild Paws series. Susan is also an editor and manuscript evaluator. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
View Review text
"Patrick's gradual adjustment to his new family may offer a satisfying road map for chapter-book readers dealing with similar situations."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Without making him into a self-deprecating victim of family turmoil, Susan Hughes creates Patrick as any child in such a situation (blended family): he works at figuring out what's happening and how he can find a place to fit in, because there certainly is at least one. He plays neither the victim nor the aggressor, and consequently will be that character to whom many children of blended families will relate."
— Canlit for LittleCanadians