Oliver has moved to the big city. He is lonely. On a rainy day he ventures outside and "suddenly he saw it, bright as a poppy in a cornfield ... a small, soggy, white ball of a dog trailing a streak of red leash. He was all alone, just like Oliver."
Oliver knows Patch must belong to someone but since no one is nearby he and Patch have a brilliant day together playing in the park, enjoying a huge icecream sundae (see the illustration below) and splashing in a fountain. It is only at night, when Patch becomes sad, that Oliver knows he must take some action and find the real owners.
SMALL WHITE DOG CALLED PATCH
LIKES CHEWING CUSHIONS
LOVES ANYTHING THE COLOUR RED
TELEPHONE OLIVER 123456789
Days slip by and no one calls. This is where you need to look more closely at the illustrations. Oliver and Patch catch a train and the commuter sitting beside them is reading a newspaper with a headline HAVE YOU SEEN THIS DOG? Then on another rainy day Oliver and Patch are out exploring. Patch takes off, breaking free of his lead, heading for a tiny hidden park. "A girl was sitting on the swings, sad and alone. Oliver looked at her red coat and red boots - and he knew."
I adore books with emotional highs and lows. What will happen now? Oliver will have to hand over his new friend. I am sure the icecream sundae on the last page will give you a huge smile.
Claire Freedman is the author of over fifty books including the hugely popular Underpants series. You should also take a look at the illustrator web site.