Thursday, March 31, 2016

PATSY AND THE PUP | "My Favorite Book," says Hachikō

Hachikō says: "Patsy and the Pup is my favorite
 book." A nice book and you can get it. Photo by
JT Marlin.
My name is John and I am the younger son of Hilda van Stockum, who wrote Patsy and 
the Pup.

This post is about Patsy, her pup, and Hachikō.

About Hachikō

My wife Alice and I adopted a puppy that we named chūken Hachikō after a loyal dog that is a legend in Japan.

The adoption took place a few days ago, on March 23, which I discovered is National Puppy Day. So that put me in mind of Patsy and the Pup.

Wookiee Warriors–from Wookieepedia.
Hachikō is from a farm in upstate New York. The mother was a  Schnauzer.  The father is reportedly a Pomeranian, but on that farm they didn't keep a lot of records, so there is room for other theories.

Our daughter Caroline's theory is that Hachikō is at least half-wookiee. Someone else tells me that Hachikō is more of the size of an ewok, i.e., a smaller bear-like version of the wookiee. But Hachikō looks more like a wookiee than an ewok.

What do you think? Hachikō can be seen in the first photo at top reading my mother's book Patsy and the Pup. He is sitting in Alice's lap.

Oh, and Hachikō loves the book.

Patsy and the Pup

The book is about a dog that follows home a girl named is Patsy, for whom the model is clearly Elisabeth (whom we call Lis), except that Patsy lives in Ireland. She must bring the dog back to its owner. She loves the dog and wants to keep it, but she is told she is too young.

She has many adventures, but in the end Patsy successfully brings the dog back to its owner. Ten there is a surprise ending that should make any child happy.

The real-life models for Patsy and the pup were my younger sister Lis and her dog Trusty, a female pup. We had to leave Trusty behind with a friend when she was about four calendar years old, because of the six-month-quarantine laws for importation of dogs in Ireland in 1951.

Dogs in HvS Books and Art

Dogs are featured in many of Hilda van Stockum's books and artwork. They play an important role in The Winged Watchman, for example, when the Nazi Wehrmacht decides to require every Dutch dog to be evaluated for Army service. The original and latest cover of The Borrowed House has a dog standing behind Janna. On the cover of HvS's very first book, A Day on Skates, there is a little dog looking at the skaters...

Patsy and the Pup is, of course, all about a dog. So, I guess, is Pamela Walks the Dog, which is about a virtual dog; it was illustrated by HvS but the story was written by Christine Marlin.  In The Mitchells, a dog is a key part of the end of the story as Mr. Mitchell is worn down and endorses the idea that the family should have a dog. (That actually happened when the family moved from Lachine, then outside of Montreal, to Argyle Avenue in Westmount.)

Many of HvS's illustrations or landscape paintings show a dog somewhere in the foreground. Mostly they seem to be middle-sized, like terriers, but Andries features a big dog, looks like a Labrador. HvS wrote Rufus Round and Round originally about a Yorkie that she acquired from me.

A lot of her paintings and illustrations have little dogs in them. Can you think of some more?


  1. Patsy and the Pup was originally published by Viking Press 65 years ago. It is one of the books by Hilda van Stockum republished by Boissevain Books. It is being promoted in honor of National Puppy Day.

  2. Hachiko is a very smart puppy, Patsy and the Pup is the perfect book for puppies and also for all children. Kate Bini

    1. Thanks, Kate. Hachikō is smart but like his namesake chūken Hachikō, he is mostly loving and loyal, or that's how we interpret his behavior – like, he is distressed when we go out and excited when we come back in.

  3. Hachikō is half-wookiee, says Caroline.