Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Review: Four Seasons of Patrick by Susan Hughes

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.

Paperback, 96 pages
Expected publication: March 15th 2014 by Red Deer Press (first published August 1st 2013)            

Terri's review

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Let me start by saying that this is a children's book and I have far surpassed the target audience for this novel.  With that in mind I can still see the merits of this read and the message behind the words.

This was a very easy read with only 74 pages.  I would say it took me around 15-20 minutes to read as it is in large type.

Essentially to summarize this book it is about a young boy who must come to term with the fact that his family is growing after his father moves on to a new relationship after the death of his mother.  It deals with his emotions and how he handles them when he learns that both the woman his dad wants to marry moves in to his house along with her daughter.  It loosely touches on the guilt he has for not remembering certain things about his mother and the fact that he doesn't want to share his home or his family with anyone else.

This book has a good message about changing family dynamics, accepting change and moving on.  The brilliant part of this book is that the audience will not really see that this is the underlying theme of the story.  It is written with such innocence that the reader will be focused on the changing seasons and the building of the tree house.  They will get the message nonetheless.


About the Author

Susan Hughes is a writer and editor, and has been writing children's books and articles for nearly twenty years. Susan has always loved writing. When she was in grade five and six, she and several friends had a writing club. They would gather with their poems and stories and read them aloud to one another. It was hard to wait for the responses! The group members always tried to say one thing that was positive, along with a constructive comment.

After finishing high school, Susan studied English literature at the University of Toronto. One summer, before her last year, she went to the job posting board and saw an ad: A children’s publishing house was looking for summer help from students. She answered the ad and was hired. She learned a lot that summer about writing, researching, editing, proof-reading, and working as a team. When she graduated, she worked for a year with the children’s publishing house – then began freelancing, working on her own to find editing and writing work. Soon she was getting calls asking her to do jobs such as write short articles for educational books. While she was doing this paid work, she was also working on her own ideas for books.

Susan writes both fiction and non-fiction. She is often asked to write a book on a topic she knows little about! So she does lots of research and briefly becomes an expert on that subject. Sometimes she works with experts, for example when she wrote about the Megalodon, the prehistoric shark, or Titanic. She often has to do research for her fictional works as well, for example, the Wild Paws series. Susan had to learn a lot about how to care for injured or motherless wild baby animals so that she could make the books realistic and factual, as well as entertaining.

Susan lives in Toronto in a tall house with a red door. She works in her living room at home. She opens the windows wide -- and sometimes the front door too! -- and sits where she can see the trees and the sunlight.

She lives with her three children, her boyfriend, and his two children. One of her favourite parts of the day is when all the kids come home after school and she gets to visit with them and hear stories about their day


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your enthusiastic review, Terri and Kristine!

    Best, Susan