Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes
Title: Love That Dog
Author: Sharon Creech
Synopsis: (Taken from Amazon)
Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog, a funny, sweet, original short novel written in free verse, introduces us to an endearingly unassuming, straight-talking boy who discovers the powers and pleasures of poetry.
Against his will. After all, “boys don’t write poetry. Girls do.” What does he say of the famous poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”? “I think Mr. Robert Frost / has a little / too / much / time / on his / hands.” As his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, introduces the canon to the class, however, he starts to see the light. Poetry is not so bad, it’s not just for girls, and it’s not even that hard to write. Take William Carlos Williams, for example: “If that is a poem / about the red wheelbarrow / and the white chickens / then any words / can be a poem. / You’ve just got to / make / short / lines.” He becomes more and more discerning as the days go by, and readers’ spirits will rise with Jack’s as he begins to find his own voice through his own poetry and through that of others.
His favorite poem of all is a short, rhythmic one by Walter Dean Myers called “Love That Boy” (included at the end of the book with all the rest of Ms. Stretchberry’s assignments). The words completely captivate him, reminding him of the loving way his dad calls him in the morning and of the way he used to call his yellow dog, Sky. Jack’s reverence for the poem ultimately leads to meeting the poet himself, an experience he will never forget. This winning, accessible book is truly remarkable in that Creech lets us witness firsthand how words can open doors to the soul. And this from a boy who asks, “Why doesn’t the person just / keep going if he’s got / so many miles to go / before he sleeps?” (Ages 8 to 12) –Karin Snelson
I first read this book in college, when I was required to read books of all ages due to my degree in Elementary Education. One of my children’s literature professors showed this book as an example and I remember reading it, and very much enjoying it. When I saw that it was at Half-Off books for under $3.00, I decided to pick it up again.
This book is done completely in poetry format, as if the boy is having a conversation with his teacher. At first he is dreading having to learn poetry because after all, he is a boy! This is an absolute delightful read as we watch this little boy progress through the pages, and open up his own heart and express how he truly feels about his dog.
Sharon Creech did an amazing job writing from the viewpoint of a child, as she seems to understood how their mind process works. Although I can’t throughly explain just how amazing this little book is, without giving away the entire story – you’ll just have to trust me and pick up the book for yourself. For the average adult, it’s an incredibly short read and can be done in about a half an hour’s time. Even after you’re finished reading, though, this isn’t a book you’ll likely be happy to have finished because you’ll be wishing for more. (Or you’ll be like me and just read it again!)
A worthy, worthy read!