Author: H.E. Stewart

Summary: Patch is a brave and energetic puppy, until one day he becomes sick and is in pain. He is afraid when paramedics take him to the hospital, but his faithful friends and a whole community of compassionate caregivers help him to recover.

 WITS Connection: Talk it out, Seek help

WITS Lesson Plan (PDF)

Learning Outcomes

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Questions and Activities


  1. What do you think this book is about?
  2. Why do you think it is called The Patched Heart? What are patches used for?


  1. The puppy begins to feel better when his friend arrives to be with him. Sometimes just showing up helps someone feel better. Why is this? What do Patch’s friends do to help him feel better? They visit, bring flowers, make cards, read books, and make music.
  2. How does Patch help himself feel better? He imagines being home in his garden and he imagines his friend chasing away the pain. How do you make yourself feel better?
  3. In his dream Patch sees a special friend coming over to watch him. Can you imagine a friend or someone you love being with you even when that person is not actually there? How do you do that?
  4. Everyone is affected in some way when a friend is hurt or unhappy. Why do the faces of the crab and the doll change as the story progresses? Why does Mossie, the Beardie (Bearded Collie), look so sad?
  5. What makes children feel hurt or unhappy? How can you use your WITS to help?
  6. What do the Newfies, Border Collies, elephants, sheep and Beardies represent in the story? Newfies are rescue dogs and strong swimmers. Border Collies are experts at shepherding and managing others. Elephants are compassionate. Sheep are soft and comforting. Beardies are excellent therapy dogs.
  7. Why are the cover and end pages illustrated with patchwork quilts? What do quilts make us think of? Find other examples of patchwork throughout the story.
  8. Why was the puppy called Patch? How is his name linked to the illustrations?


  • Make a quilt with paper or fabric. Each child can contribute one square. Ideas for squares include things to do to make someone feel better, pictures of ways to help others or favourite pictures from The Patched Heart.
  • Create an author-study project by reading other books by H.E. Stewart, like Walrus’s Gift.