Needles and Patch, by Jane C. Scott

When the boards were scattered around us, a dark hole was revealed in the storeroom floor. Patch and I were amazed. We never suspected this.
‘Is it a drain, or a collapsed bit of earth?’ I thought out loud. Then Patch finished my thought for me.
‘Or a secret tunnel deliberately dug out?’

When the school is evacuated because of a fire near the library, Needles thinks its pretty exciting, but she doesn’t realise just how exciting the events which follow will be.

Needles (her real name is Nadine) and her best friend Patch (Paul) volunteer to help clean out the storeroom where the fire started. Soon they realise something very strange is going on. They find a box of money hidden in the storeroom and, later, a box of jewellery, which disappears as fast as they find it. When they discover a tunnel disappearing benath the floor of the storeroom, they start to work out what is going on – but before they can tell the dults Patch disappears and Needles must get the help of the other kids in her class to save him.

Needles and Patch is a humorous and action-packed novel for 10 to 12 year old readers, with a recommended reading age of 12.5. Part of the Macmillan Education Breakers series, it is suitable for classroom or private reading.

It is nice to see a story where boy and girl main characters appear alongside each other as equals and friends, which makes the book likely to appeal to both genders. Needles and Patch is an entertaining read for upper primary students.

Needles and Patch, by Jane C. Scott
Macmillan Education, 2004