"Guinea Dog" was an insta-hit among my friends under nine. One buddy was already quoting the book the day after starting it -- references to poisonous ducks abounded...
And two other friends laughed and laughed and laughed as I read them the first 50 pages. The book's main character desperately wants a dog, but the kid's dad has a list four book pages long of all the reasons dogs are rotten. In the list, the words 'poop' and 'piddle' come up quite a bit. And my friends were guffawing each time they heard those words. But then, after the sixth 'piddle' reference, one of them asked me what 'piddle' meant... Supplied with THAT definition, well, we were all near hysterics.
I saw Patrick at his book launch party for "Guinea Dog" (held at the überfantabulous Seattle indie bookstore, Secret Garden Books.) He showed the audience the original picture book art and story text that he wrote years ago that was inspiration for the book (originally the guinea pig was a cat!) At the time, though, the editor looking at it said it was more appropriate for a chapter book and older readers. Years later, Patrick rewrote it as a short story, which was published in a Scholastic in-class magazine. From there he decided he would like to try it as a longer chapter book, and now we've got that!
Patrick taught preschool for many years, and his awareness of what kids like and think is funny really shines through in his books. "Guinea Dog" has guinea pig and dog adorableness in it and loads of fun character studies. If you haven't read any of his work yet, check out these titles, too (and honestly, "We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes" has to be one of my most favorite titles/phrases ever!)
Patrick is working on more books. Check out his website for updates on future titles. He mentioned something having to do with Galactic Canine Rescue... hopefully that will be explained or revealed soon.