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Love That Dog Paperback – June 30, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 289 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Jack Series

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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

In last year's Fishing in the Air, Creech took a spare, metaphorical approach to a father-son relationship. Here she examines the bond between a boy and his dog to create an ideal homage to the power of poetry and those who write it. The volume itself builds like a poem. Told exclusively through Jack's dated entries in a school journal, the book opens with his resistance to writing verse: "September 13/ I don't want to/ because boys/ don't write poetry./ Girls do." Readers sense the gentle persistence of Jack's teacher, Miss Stretchberry, behind the scenes, from the poems she reads in class and from her coaxing, to which the boy alludes, until he begins to write some poems of his own. One by William Carlos Williams, for instance, inspires Jack's words: "So much depends/ upon/ a blue car/ splattered with mud/ speeding down the road." A Robert Frost poem sends Jack into a tale (in verse) of how he found his dog, Sky. At first, his poems appear to be discrete works. But when a poem by Walter Dean Myers ("Love That Boy" from Brown Angels) unleashes the joy Jack felt with his pet, he becomes even more honest in his poetry. Jack's next work is cathartic: all of his previous verses seemed to be leading up to this pi ce de r sistance, an admission of his profound grief over Sky's death. He then can move on from his grief to write a poem ("inspired by Walter Dean Myers") about his joy at having known and loved his dog. As in any great poem, the real story surfaces between the lines. From Jack's entries, readers learn how unobtrusively his teacher guides him to poems he can collect and emulate, and how patiently she convinces him to share his own work. By exposing Jack and readers to the range of poems that moves Jack (they appear at the back of the book), Creech conveys a life truth: pain and joy exist side by side. For Jack and for readers, the memory of that dog lives on in his poetry. Readers will love that dog, and this book. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 86 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Trade; 1st edition (June 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439569869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439569866
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (289 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,332,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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.
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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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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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