Book Cover

A young child is confident a new
puppy will adhere to newly learned rules on a first outing beyond the backyard
fence.

The unnamed, pigtailed, bespectacled
narrator is patient yet strict with their new dog, Patch, named for the black
splotch over one eye. They practice the commands of “sit,” “down,” and “stay” (a
hard one) to prepare. Once they open the gate and venture out, the leashed
Patch is quite excited to encounter butterflies, bugs, and muddy puddles. The
highlight of the walk is when they meet Benny, a little boy with his new puppy,
a much larger, shaggy canine called Smallfry. “The two puppies leap…and
roll…and tussle.” After untangling their leashes, Patch and her owner walk home
for a cleanup, some water, and a nap. Fundamentals of puppy training and pet
ownership are the underlying themes that give structure to this rather bland
storyline—both Benny and the narrator are careful to disclose that their pups
have had their shots before allowing them to play, for instance. Carter
supplies attractive illustrations done with colored pencil, watercolor, and
digital media against a stark white background. The narrator presents white and
Benny black; the narrator’s jewel-toned, print dress is especially attractive.

The genuine love expressed between
owner and pet fortifies the responsibilities Patch’s owner undertakes. (Picture
book. 5-7)

kirkusreviews.com

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