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Hate That Cat: A Novel Hardcover – September 23, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–8—In this worthy sequel to Love That Dog (HarperCollins, 2001), Jack is once again in Miss Stretchberry's class, developing his poetry composition skills and learning from the masters. His Uncle Bill disparages the free-verse form and mundane subjects, stressing the importance of metaphor, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and LARGE moments. But Jack works his way into these concepts by means of Miss S's introduction to the work of Edgar Allan Poe, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Valerie Worth, and Walter Dean and Chris Myers, and her constant encouragement of his own attempts. Jack, still healing from the loss of his dog, resists getting a new pet and despises an aloof neighborhood black cat with which he has an unpleasant run-in. He also grapples with putting into words his feelings about his mother, who is deaf, a fact that is slowly and deftly revealed in his poems. When the Christmas-present kitten he has learned to love disappears, Jack grieves anew, until the despised black cat saves the day. Once again, all of the poems are addressed to Miss Stretchberry, and Jack's growing excitement as he discovers the delights of sound ("Tintinnabulation!") and expression is palpable. He also learns the poetry of silence as he and his mother communicate through sign language and tender gestures. The relevant poems are included at the end of the book, along with a hefty bibliography of "Books on the Class Poetry Shelf." Readers will be touched and inspired once more.—Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In a worthy companion piece to Love That Dog (2001), Creech employs observant sensitivity and spare verse to carve an indelible portrait of a boy who discovers the power of self-expression. Once again, Jack works on a poetry journal for Miss Stretchberry, now his fifth-grade teacher. He responds to her instruction with skepticism, all the while absorbing the depth of feeling in the poems she shares, sometimes in spite of himself. Creech is a master of negative space; though we see only Jack’s side of their dialogue, we learn a great deal about the other figures in Jack’s life. In Love That Dog, Jack’s reluctant relationship with poetry mirrored his struggle to let go of a good friend. In this title, we see Jack’s reluctance waning, and with it, the resolute protection of his feelings. Try as he might to hold them off, the lines of Miss Stretchberry’s poems open a space in his heart just big enough to allow affection for a small black kitten, dotted with white, to find its way in. Grades 3-6. --Thom Barthelmess
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Series: AWARDS: Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award 2010-2011
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (September 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061430927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061430923
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sharon Creech is the author of the Newbery Medal winner Walk Two Moons and the Newbery Honor Book The Wanderer. Her other work includes the novels Hate That Cat, The Castle Corona, Replay, Heartbeat, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, Ruby Holler, Love That Dog, Bloomability, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Chasing Redbird, and Pleasing the Ghost, as well as three picture books: A Fine, Fine School; Fishing in the Air; and Who's That Baby? Ms. Creech and her husband live in upstate New York.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There are few things nicer than catching a glimpse of an upcoming children's book title and bursting into laughter at the cover. A nice laugh, of course. I don't suppose that many people thought that Sharon Creech's Love That Dog was in particular need of a sequel. It was a perfectly nice book but a succinct and, in many ways, self-contained verse novel. A slim little book, ideal for those reluctant readers who need to read a b...more There are few things nicer than catching a glimpse of an upcoming children's book title and bursting into laughter at the cover. A nice laugh, of course. I don't suppose that many people thought that Sharon Creech's Love That Dog was in particular need of a sequel. It was a perfectly nice book but a succinct and, in many ways, self-contained verse novel. A slim little book, ideal for those reluctant readers who need to read a book for class but don't want anything "too long" (oh, insidious phrase). It also happens to be one of the few verse novels out there that justifies the format, rather than just appearing as a series of randomly broken up sentences. Now Creech has followed up that acclaimed bit of verse with Hate That Cat, a logical extension to the previous title. In the first book Jack dealt with the death of his dog with the help of poetry. In the second, we learn more about his family and about some felines that challenge his resolve.

When last we saw Jack he had learned to love the poet Walter Dean Myers and to accept that his dead dog was gone. Now it's an entirely new school year and Surprise! Miss Stretchberry is unexpectedly his teacher again. Of course, she's not too pleased with the series of anti-cat poems he's been writing lately.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus VINE VOICE on August 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
A college professor once told one of my classes that just holding a book could somehow impress on the holder the book's content. (Out of context this seems silly, but was very wise within context.) This time I must disagree with that dear professor. Holding "Hate That Cat" with its ugly red cover, then opening it and looking at the poetic forms inside made me snap it closed, put it back on the shelf, and huff: Why would I want to read a novel written in poetic form? Mercy me, sometimes I can be so silly.

"Hate That Cat" is one of the most touching, endearing, delightful, clever, entertaining, instructive books I've ever read. Written in poetic form based on the poems his teacher presents, the book outlines the thinking and writing processes of Jack, one young boy, not any boy, but a very bright, creative boy, one you would want as your student (if a teacher) or your child (if a parent). I was totally captivated by the character, the style of the book, the themes conveyed--not just one, but several, and left tear stains on the last 20 pages or so. This in a 148-page book.

Here's one example of what I mean. Miss Stretchberry introduced the poem by William Carlos Williams (one of my favorites, BTW) entitled "The Red Wheelbarrow."

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

So here's what he writes to Miss Stretchberry:

"The wheelbarrow poem again?
Did you forget we read it last year?

Okay, here's one:

so much depends upon
a creeping cat
crouched in the tree
beside the yellow bus stop."

Then he tells Miss Stretchberry that she will probably ask why (this is his journal) so much depends on that cat.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Miller on November 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I love that book
like my grandpa loves pie
I said I love that book
like my grandpa loves pie

Love to eat it in one sitting
Love to eat it
lean back, sigh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
I love cats. I even have one. But cats don't like my child. So I thought it would be fun to read something about hating cats. Little did I know we were going to discover...POETRY???! (I hate poetry.)

So we snuggled up just before lights-out & I read her a page of free verse about hating cats. Which morphed into free verse about hating teachers & family who say what you write isn't poetry. And hating six-syllable poetic vocabulary. (Ever heard your kid say onomatopoeia?) But not Edgar Allan Poe. (Followed by a hillarious observation about how Poe wouldn't have passed muster with most teachers today because he uses the word "bells" too much.) And back to cats vs. dogs. And Tennyson. And then kittens...

You know there's something good happening when a child, who just barely can handle Hop On Pop, sits through a reading of The Bells & then demands you look up Tennyson before bed. We haven't finished yet, so I don't know where this is all going, but I thoroughly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Librarian Laura on October 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
Love that Dog, the prequel to Hate that Cat, is one of my favorite books. I was a little apprehensive about reading Hate that Cat because I didn't want it to disappoint me and ruin the characters I love so much. This book exceeded my expectations! Creech picks up right where she left off, delving into the ins and outs of poetry (and teaching the reader a little bit about the styles of poetry) by having Jack express his hate for a cat that hangs around his house.

Instead of using the predictable storyline of Jack discovering cats aren't so bad (although that is in the story), the main storyline of Jack's discovery of the "sound" of words, especially the cadence of poetry, and that relationship to his hearing-impaired mother.

What could have been an overkill of a good thing (like so many series are these days) turns out to be further character growth and a beautiful story of the power of words and the sounds they make on paper and aloud.
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