Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Patchy and Calico's Summer Vacation by Greta Burroughs

Patchy and Calico's Summer Vacation
by Greta Burroughs

Patchwork Dog has a knack for getting into trouble and his best friend, Calico Cat usually winds up right in the middle of the mess with him. Calico would rather spend her days sleeping in her nice comfortable bed, staying safe and worry free. She knows better than to follow Patchy when he is out looking for a new adventure, but she tags along anyway just in case…
On the other hand, Patchy is very curious and is always investigating new sights, sounds and smells. He follows his nose wherever it goes. Sometimes that leads to trouble but other times it gives Calico a chance to play a trick on her not so smart friend.
Children will laugh out loud when the two lovable creatures go to the beach where Patchy comes nose to claw with a fiddler crab, or when they take a walk through the woods and meet a not too friendly bear who cannot decide whether to help the two lost campers or eat them.
In the other stories, children will enjoy reading about how Patchy and Calico accidentally join the circus, take an unplanned boat ride and get caught sneaking into a school classroom.
Patchy and Calico’s Summer Vacation has illustrations at the beginning of each chapter that hint at what the new adventure will be about. Other pictures are included at the end of each story along with some questions for the child to answer. Older children can read the stories themselves or it would make a wonderful bedtime story book for younger kids. The five tales will entertain children of all ages with the antics of the title characters and hopefully teach youngsters some valuable lessons working together and staying out of trouble.

Patchy and Calico get to perform in a circus!

The two friends tiptoed as quietly as they could around the big tent and stopped behind one of the smaller tents. They were hoping to stay out of sight and still be able to see what was going on.
It was amazing; so many things to look at.
They were so busy watching all of the activity that they did not hear the sound of footsteps behind them.
“There you are, you silly dog! Thought you could get away from me, huh? Come on, we have work to do before our show tonight. You can bring your new friend with you and we’ll find something for her to do, too.”
Patchy and Calico looked over their shoulders and saw a man in a bright yellow shirt and green pants.
He was trying to untie a big knot on the side of the tent. After a few tries, he finally got it. The man opened a door-like flap on the tent and led the two confused animals inside.
“You escaped from your cage, little dog, and I thought I had lost you. I’m glad you came back. We have to practice all the tricks I taught you. What can your kitty friend do?”
The man started putting balls, hoops and a ladder around the floor of the tent. Then he stopped and scratched his head. “Oh yes, I forgot to bring your new clothes for the act. Don’t go away now, I’ll be right back.”
He walked out of the tent and closed the door flap.
“Patchy, did you understand any of that? Does he think you are his dog? You don’t know any tricks and dogs do not wear clothes. What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know, Calico. We’ve got to get out of here or else learn some tricks very fast.”


I’ll state right off that I completely loved the first Patchy and Calico book I read with my sons, so I was super excited when I heard that there was a new book covering their summer adventures.
My boys (ages 2 and 5) loved the story of Patchy and Calico going to the beach best of all. My oldest has always been a beach lover and gets very excited when we get the chance to go to the beach. He completely identified with the wonder that Patchy feels as they arrive at the beach and hear the sounds. And of course, as a mom, I love the reminder to not go in the water without parents.

What I love most about the adventures of Patchy and Calico is that they show both the adventurous spirit of being young and the caution that parents try to instill in children. This is nicely emphasized in the adventures without being forced. I also love the questions at the end of each story which help my sons and I discuss important things that came up.
I highly recommend Patchy and Calico’s Summer Vacation to children aged 2 and older. My 5 year old thinks very highly of Patchy and can’t wait for the next story, and neither can I. (By Loretta)

About the Author
Greta Burroughs loves to read. No matter where she is, there is always a book close at hand. Her love of reading began at an early age and blossomed over time to include many different genres, her favorite now being fantasy.
As a preschool and elementary school teacher, Greta tried to instill the joy of reading in the children she worked with. Books were an important part of her classroom and story time was the highlight of the day.
It has been a while since Greta was in a classroom but she had lots of experience in reading to children of various ages and remembers what they enjoyed listening to. She tries to incorporate that knowledge into her work as an author and believes it makes her a better writer of children’s books.
The adventures in Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat were written several years before the book was published. The manuscript was put away while she concentrated on her career as a freelance journalist and before that in aviation education. When medical issues kept her from being able to work outside the home, the writing bug hit her and the old manuscript was dusted off, rewritten, illustrated and published.
Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat is a collection of five stories about a couple of friends who learn valuable lessons while out on their adventures. There are illustrations to go along with each chapter and questions at the end of each story. The target audience is ages 5-8 but the book can also be read aloud to younger kids.
Greta has also published a young adult fiction fantasy novel entitled Gerald and the Wee People. Wee People was written for teenagers but adults also enjoy the exploits of the two main characters as they literally fall into another world and interact with the villagers, helping them to defeat a forest god intent on destroying their world. Greta has plans to write a sequel called The House on Bo-Kay Lane.
Her one nonfiction narrative, Heartaches and Miracles describes the roller coaster ride she has been on fighting an autoimmune disorder called ITP. In this book, the author and several other ITPers give an insight into this chronic blood disorder and try to give words of encouragement to others trying to cope with ITP. Heartaches and Miracles is also Greta's way of telling the world what ITP is, how it affects its victims and that it is more widespread than most people realize.
That is not the end of her literary itinerary; Greta has several other children's and young adult books in mind for the future.