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Love That Dog Paperback – March 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064409597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064409599
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Wolf's (Party of Five) bright, boyish voice brings to life Creech's novel-in-free-verse about a student's enlightening year of course work. As school starts in September, Jack is not eager to embark on Miss Stretchberry's poetry writing assignments. "I don't want to/ because boys/ don't write poetry./ Girls do." But Jack's attitude soon changes. As Miss Stretchberry reads the works of great poets (Robert Frost, Valerie Worth, William Blake) to the class and encourages Jack's writing efforts, Jack discovers his unique voice--and a true talent for creative expression. The culmination of Jack's great year is a classroom visit from Mr. Walter Dean Myers, who wrote what Jack considers "the best best BEST/ poem/ ever," called "Love That Boy," a selection that has become the boy's biggest inspiration. Wolf plays Jack with a realistic, respectful and contemporary tone. He nimbly conveys surprise, wonder and heartfelt emotion without sounding sentimental or affected, a quality that will have many young listeners enthralled. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

I read it in about 45 minutes.
Ashley M. Wooten
Love That Dog is an inspirational book because it teaches you that it's okay to write poetry about how you feel.
Lisa Johannes
I am a school librarian and stumbled on this one during our book fair.
K. Willhite

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on October 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As Jack tells us in his writing journal on the first day of his class' poetry unit: "I don't want to/because boys/don't write poetry./Girls do./I tried./Can't do it./Brain's empty." But as hard as he resists the idea, poetry begins to seep into that empty brain. At first the works his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, introduces make little sense to him. "Why doesn't the person just/keep going if he's got/so many miles to go/before he sleeps?" Eventually, the poetry seductively captures him, and he writes about William Blake's, The Tiger: "I am sorry to say/I did not really understand/the tiger tiger burning bright poem/but at least it sounded good/in my ears./Some of the tiger sounds/are still in my ears/like drums/beat-beat-beating." When Miss Stretchberry reads Walter Dean Myers', Love That Boy, it all comes together, and Jack is finally hooked, "I copied that BEST poem/and hung it on my/bedroom wall/right over my bed/where I can/see it when I'm/lying/down." As the story continues, he begins to open up, write his own verse, and with the guidance of his teacher and inspiration of his new favorite poet, finally puts down on paper the poem that's been inside of him all along just waiting to come out; the story of his beloved dog, Sky, who was hit by a car..... Newberry Award Winner, Sharon Creech, has outdone herself with this marvelously sensitive, sometimes poignant, often amusing little masterpiece. Her simple text, told in free verse, and written in the voice of a ten or eleven year old, explores the power of words, their rhythm, and energy, how they can inspire, captivate, and elicit feelings. Young and old, alike will be entranced as they begin this wonderful journey with Jack on his lifelong adventure with the love of words.Read more ›
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa A. Lappen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This short 86-page poetic novel is made for every child who has ever resisted reading a poem, or writing one.
The story pulls details from eight poems. In September, Jack, the child narrator in Miss Stretchberry's Room 105, can't understand an unnamed "poem about/the red wheelbarrow/and the white chickens" (William Carlos Williams). In October, a few pages later, he fails to grasp "the tiger tiger burning bright poem/but at least it sounded good in my ears" (William Blake). By January, he's concluded that "Mr. Robert Frost/ who wrote/about the pasture/ was also the one/ who wrote about/ those snowy woods/ and the miles to go/ before he sleeps---well!"
That is also the month Jack writes a poem about his family's trip to the dog pound. There, he chose from among "big and small/ fat and skinny/ some of them/ hiding in the corner/ but most of them bark-bark-barking and/ jumping up against the wire cage" a yellow dog standing "with his paws curled around the wire/and his long red tongue/ hanging out".
By March, Jack has waxed enthusiastic about a poem by "Mr. Walter Dean Myers/ the best best BEST/ poem/ever." He has even related it to his experience with the yellow dog, whom he named Sky. In April, Jack writes to Mr. Walter Dean Myers. And in May the poet agrees to visit the school. As Mr. Walter Dean Myers reads poems to the class on June 1, Jack finds "All of my blood/in my veins/ was bubbling/and all of the thoughts/ in my head/ were buzzing." That's about how it feels to love a poem.
Several other important details make this book a keeper--not least, what happened to Jack's dog, and his closing poem.
Read more ›
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Power on August 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful story told in free verse and in journal format. As a teacher, I cannot think of a more valuable tool for modeling how to write poetry, a response journal, and elements of a story. The story evolves in a series of short, pithy poems written by Jake as he responds to his teacher's attempts to introduce a love of poetry and elicit more information in his responses. It is told completely in Jake's words, although you can easily infer the teacher's comments. I have to admit this is my favorite book that I have read this summer (over 75) and can't wait to use it in class. An extra treat is the inclusion of an appendix containing most of the poems mentioned in the story.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was delighted to discover this book and have thoroughly enjoyed sharing it with my students as well as my own children. LOVE THAT DOG is a delicious way to introduce young readers to free verse poetry...
However, in reading this book we are to believe that the poems are written by a young elementary student. In all honesty, Jack's attempts read very much like prose that is simply rearranged on the page with poetry-like line breaks. Students I have worked with through the years are capable of so much more!
So, while I LOVE this book and will continue to use it in my classroom, I certainly don't intend to neglect other poetry books that have delighted and inspired my young creative writers such as: ALL THE SMALL POEMS by Valerie Worth and LITTLE DOG POEMS by Kristine O'Connell George. LITTLE DOG POEMS, in combination with LOVE THAT DOG, is particularly powerful since these short poems are not only about a much-loved dog, but are also written in a first-person child's voice.
Worth, George, and other many other poets are needed in the "mix" to help young writers and readers understand that poetry is not *just* short lines and a lot of white space -- but that poetry is also about metaphor, imagery, and some of the amazing and surprising connections that can be made through lanaguage when we write poetry.
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