The Four Seasons of Patrick
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.
What the Readers Say
In a short simple chapter book Susan Hughes lets a young reader share with Patrick the fears, annoyance and challenges of becoming part of a blended family. Hughes really understands the realities facing young children.
-Ken Setterington, author, librarian, and first Children and Youth Advocate for Library Services, Toronto Public Library
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.
-Resource Links Magazine (rated E for Excellent)
...Before long, Patrick suspects that Claire isn't happy about her new home either. As he works through his own unhappiness, he begins to wonder if Claire is unhappy, too. In the course of Patrick's journey through the year, he begins to see Claire as more than the annoying little tag-along. This transition from self-pity to empathy is the turning point which makes the story so much more than a tale of adjustment to blended family life (a valuable lesson on its own) and pushes further into not only peace with new housemates, but compassion, love and understanding.
- Kasey Giard, The Story Sanctuary blog
I really liked this book. It was fun and really good to read. I connected with the main character Patrick because he is quite similar to me. Reading this made me feel a bit weird. It made me see that there is other people who struggle with their emotions like me and that was strange but good. ...I would recommend this book to some of my friends and kids my around my own age and people who feel a bit lonely or weird sometimes.
- Ellis, 11, (five stars on Goodreads)
Using the seasons to mark the transformation of one young boys feelings toward his father’s impending re-marriage works well here. Things are going well for Patrick during the winter where he shares some of his favorite “firsts” of the season with his best friend Harry. As the year passes and he learns of his father’s decision to remarry, he starts to feel his world change and his once cozy home becomes too cramped even before Linda and Claire move in. In order to satisfy his desire for space, Patrick with Harry’s help builds a tree house. Little does he know that the tree house not only offers the space he craves, but the healing that he needs.
- Deanna, The Book Lover's Attic (blog)