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January 24, 2008

Love That Dog

Filed under: *AWESOME BOOKS!!!,L — thebookreviews @ 9:31 pm
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Love That Dog

Author: Sharon Creech

Page Length: 86

Reading Level: 6th

Genre: Poetry


REVIEW: It is funny how the title is Love That Dog. I really love this book. I don’t know if it is the yellow cover, the blue print, the poetic twist on prose writing, the point-of-view of a young student, or the connections to famous poems. I just really enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy read, however as with all poetry you can sit and think about the words/meanings for hours.


The book first caught my glance as being the only yellow book I have in my classroom. It also brings me back to an interesting observation I had last year in my freshman English class. I had this student who was quite “difficult”. We have all had them. After I disciplined him for inappropriate behavior, he walked away and sat down with his head on the desk. After about 20 minutes, I watched out of the corner of my eye, to see this student pick up Love That Dog and start to silently read it. I could tell he was actually trying to read it, because his lips were moving. Now this is a student that I thought would never, ever, ever, read a book on his own. But he did. I suppose it was the topic or maybe it was the poetry. I do regret however, that I never asked him about the book. Or, perhaps it was best not to ruin this “reading moment”.


I was surprised to find that this book is written all in poetry. It appears that a teacher named Miss Stretchberry has kept some journal writing that a student named Jack has composed. Actually, I am not sure if it is journal writing or simple notes made to the teacher about poetry. At first, Jack does not understand, nor enjoy poetry. However, as the poetic story progresses, we find that Jack indeed not only enjoys the poems themselves, but also some of the poets such as Walter Dean Myers. This book is great because it uses humor (such as when Jack states that Robert Frost has too much time on his hands) and various examples of “plays on words” to illustrate a young boy’s feelings toward the topic of poetry.


AREAS FOR TEACHING: I am going to consider using many of the dated entries from this book as ice-breakers for my class when I introduce poetry. The very first entry on page 1 is the best:


“September 13


I don’t want to


because boys


don’t write poetry


Girls do.”


POETRY CONNECTIONS: Jack’s poem titled “My Yellow Dog” on page 37 is very creative. Also, his letter to Walter Dean Myers that starts on page 55 is touching. The letter asks if Mr. Myers would visit Jack’s school. Jack’s final poem on page 86 is wonderful (especially if you have read all the previous pages). The book is supplemented at the back with excerpts from famous poems by Walter Dean Myers, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, William Blake, Valerie Worth, Arnold Adoff, and S. C. Rigg (who happens to have a great example of a shape-poem). Finally, the book contains 13 Literature Circle Questions and 4 activities that can be used in the classroom.


Sometimes beauty can be found in the smallest of places, and I believe this poetic book of 86 pages is one such example. It is a must read for all teachers and those who love or “might not” love poetry. Enjoy!




REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton



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