"I guess it does look like a poem when you see it typed up like that."
Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won't stop giving her class poetry assignments—and Jack can't avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say.
I was born in South Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, and grew up there with my noisy and rowdy family: my parents (Ann and Arvel), my sister (Sandy), and my three brothers (Dennis, Doug and Tom).
For a fictional view of what it was like growing up in my family, see Absolutely Normal Chaos. (In that book, the brothers even have the same names as my own brothers.) Our house was not only full of us Creeches, but also full of friends and visiting relatives.
In the summer, we usually took a trip, all of us piled in a car and heading out to Wisconsin or Michigan or, once, to Idaho. We must have been a very noisy bunch, and I'm not sure how our parents put up with being cooped up with us in the car for those trips. The five-day trip out to Idaho when I was twelve had a powerful effect on me: what a huge and amazing country! I had no idea then that thirty-some years later, I would recreate that trip in a book called Walk Two Moons.
One other place we often visited was Quincy, Kentucky, where my cousins lived (and still live) on a beautiful farm, with hills and trees and swimming hole and barn and hayloft. We were outside running in those hills all day long, and at night we'd gather on the porch where more stories would be told. I loved Quincy so much that it has found its way into many of my books—transformed into Bybanks, Kentucky. Bybanks appears in Walk Two Moons, Chasing Redbird, and Bloomability. Bybanks also makes a brief appearance (by reference, but not by name) in The Wanderer.
When I was young, I wanted to be many things when I grew up: a painter, an ice skater, a singer, a teacher, and a reporter. It soon became apparent that I had little drawing talent, very limited tolerance for falling on ice, and absolutely no ability to stay on key while singing. I also soon learned that I would make a terrible reporter because when I didn't like the facts, I changed them. It was in college, when I took literature and writing courses, that I became intrigued by story-telling. Later, I was a teacher (high school English and writing) in England and in Switzerland. While teaching great literature, I learned so much about writing: about what makes a story interesting and about techniques of plot and characterization and point of view. I started out writing novels for adults (published as Sharon Rigg): The Recital and Nickel Malley were both written and published while I was living in England (these books were published in England only and are now out of print.) But the next book was Absolutely Normal Chaos, and ever since that book I have written mainly about young people. Walk Two Moons was the first of my books to be published in America. When it received the Newbery Medal, no one was more surprised than I was. I'm still a little bit in shock.
After Walk Two Moons came Chasing Redbird, Pleasing the Ghost, Bloomability, The Wanderer, and Fishing in the Air. I hope to be writing stories for a long, long time.
I am married to Lyle Rigg, who is the headmaster of The Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey, and have two grown children, Rob and Karin. Being with my family is what I enjoy most. The next-best thing is writing stories.
Before reading, take a quick look at the short poems at the back of this book because the story will make more sense if you do.
I saw this book at my local library and couldn't resist the bright cover, the fact that it won multiple awards, was short-listed for the 2001 Carnegie medal and that the Guardian called it quirky, original and 'defies categorisations' sealed the deal. I later found out (after looking it up on GR) that Ms Creech also wrote Walk Two Moons, my favourite book growing up which also won multiple awards.
This is an adorable story with a hint of tragedy about a boy who slowly discovers that poetry is not just for girls. He soon learns to tell his own story in the form of poetic diary entries and to write about the tragic death of his beloved dog, Sky. I also enjoyed his comment on the works of other poets e.g. Robert Frost, William Blake and others and also admire a certain poet.
This book is great for reluctant young readers. initially, I got Love That Dog for my kids but it's one of those books that grow on you and before long, we were all reading and enjoying the little boy's humour and his growing confidence in copying other poets work and writing his own poetry.
The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams
so much depends upon
a red wheel barrow
glazed with rain water
beside the white chickens.
The little boy's attempt...
"Do you promise not to read it out loud? Do you promise not to put it on the board?
Okay, here it is, but I don't like it
So much depends upon a blue care splattered with mud speeding down the road.
What do you mean- Why does so much depend upon a blue car?
You didn't say before that I had to tell why. The Wheelbarrow guy didn't tell why.
I'm glad to have looked at the back of the book and read the short poems being referred to by the little boy, otherwise the humour and innocent jab at other poets, would've gone over my head.
My Cousin actually read it to me. She used to read this to her baby girl who died of Cancer when she was 3. Today she just wanted to do something that reminded her of Anna. It was a a really cute book and I know why Anna loved it so much.
One of my all time favorites -- the SWEETEST little story written in journal format as a little boy learns to love poetry with the help of his teacher. It is cleverly written and fun to read. A good read-a-loud with your kids. warning -- you might cry!
Sharon Creech's 2001 novel in verse Love that Dog has indeed been a very much unexpectedly wonderful and lovely reading surprise for me (as I have tended to have some reading issues with regard to Creech as an author). For simply but also totally and utterly textually delightfully (and with a subdued but ever present and strongly rendered emotionality), Sharon Creech with Love that Dog simply but totally delightfully presents how Jack, how the young first person narrator is wonderfully and lastingly inspired by his teacher Miss Stretchberry to not only learn to appreciate poetry as a literary genre but to also then write, to compose his own verses (and this even though at the beginning of Love that Dog, Jack is shown by Sharon Creech as being pretty much stubbornly resistant to all poetry and that he thinks reading and even more so writing verses something that only girls but not boys tend to do). And with Jack within the pages of Love that Dog learning what poetry signifies and means, that there are many different types of poetic forms, and using the poets that Miss Stretchberry introduces in class to write adaptations of authors like William Blake, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, Valerie Worth, Walter Dean Myers etc. (with the the latter, with Walter Dean Myers even visiting Jack's class), Love that Dog basically concludes with Jack's erstwhile negative attitude towards poetry having been totally changed to one of positivity (by both Miss Stretchberry's teachings but also and perhaps even more so by his, by Jack's own experiences writing poetry, by adapting the poets being featured in class to and for his own experiences and realising that penning verses is not only something fun and engaging but also something magically and delightfully healing).
Furthermore but also really significantly and importantly (and especially regarding the already briefly alluded to assessment of poetry being something therapeutic in nature), in Love that Dog, Sharon Creech also and marvellously demonstrates how with the poems Jack is writing, and which as the story moves along increasingly feature Jack's dog Sky as a subject and as a theme, he is, Jack is able to both come to terms with his dog's recent death (and even to write about how Sky was killed) and also to use his verses as a way to both pay homage to his deceased pet and to also remember Sky fondly and with ever decreasing bitterness. And definitely, even though the thematics of a deceased pet in Love that Dog seems to actually quite bother some readers/reviewers, for me, the story as it is being presented by Sharon Creech in Love that Dog and how Jack experiences healing, poetical joy and being able to remember Sky without too much pain and trauma after writing verses about his dog, in particular for my inner child, this is oh so emotionally heartening and also very much personally relatable (as I did indeed also pen childhood poems when our family dog and one of my favourites of our horses died rather suddenly and that this totally made me feel better and less saddened).
Highly recommended and five stars for Love that Dog (with my only and totally minor annoyance being that although I do appreciate the information on poetry in general at the back and the list of the poems/poets being used by Miss Stretchberry, I also kind of wish that Sharon Creech would include those poems within the text proper with footnotes and that she also would include a technical bibliography on poetry as a genre in Love that Dog, although I think that later editions might indeed contain bibliographies).
I like how Jack and his dad adopt a dog from a shelter/dog pound. Jack and his dog both had a great time together. It's really heartbreaking when his dog died and Jack no longer wants to have another pet because of the trauma he got from losing one. The short and bittersweet poem he wrote, in the end, is like a memorial for his dog.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
A very very short book full of simple poems written from a 7 y/o's POV. I came across this book one day when I was really bored and had nothing to read. Reluctant to pick it up as it's a children's book, I didn't read it until I was desperate for something to do to past time. This is a quick book that can also help you accomplish your Reading Challenge. Aside from that, it was fun to return to simple language and just enjoy it. The poems were short but beautiful. However, it can let you feel. Such simple poems can also have deeper meanings. For me, a few poems still lingered on me after finishing it.
Jack, the MC, told a story of his relationship with his dog in this book, which was really sweet. He attempted to share his story through a series of poems. He was inspired to write poems after reading one by William Carlos Williams.
I've included some simple poems from the book down below:
I don’t want to
Don’t write poetry.
I guess it does look like a poem when you see it typed up like that
This is a second read-through of an entertaining and educational little book for children about writing poetry. It’s set in an elementary school classroom and begins with Jack writing a complaining note to his teacher that “boys / don’t write poetry. / / Girls do.” But, of course, it is no surprise that this boy will write poetry and at least some of it will be about a much-loved dog.
Apart from the relatively thin storyline, this book makes its point about the power of poetry (and of persistent teachers) by including Jack’s responses to poems the teacher shares with her students. (All eight poems are also included at the end of the book, which means that in addition to the story, the children get to read those eight poems.) And so we get to watch Jack figure out that “the wheelbarrow poet [William Carlos Williams] / was just / making a picture / with words.” Maybe, Jack suggests, Robert Frost was doing the same thing in his snowy woods poem. In addition to figuring out what imagery might be, Jack also learns to listen to the rhythms of poetry as he makes up a poem about a blue car while “some of the tiger sounds [of Blake’s “The Tiger”] / are still in my ears / like drums / beat-beat-beating.” From Arnold Adoff’s “Street Music” Jack learns to use spacing and fonts to create effects; from S. C. Rigg’s “The Apple,” he learns to recognize and create his own shaped poem. In addition, the readers get an appearance by Walter Dean Meyers, who comes to visit the classroom in response to Jack’s written invitation. It was Meyers' poem “Love That Boy” that first convinced Jack that poetry was for him. And Jack finally does come to terms with the death of his dog Sky by writing a poem. And after Meyers’ visit, Jack writes another poem about Sky called "Love That Dog" inspired by, you guessed it, “Love That Boy.”
What a beautiful way to show how a child may slowly start to appreciate poetry by trying it out himself. The development is subtle, starting with aversion (I don't want to because boys don't write poetry. Girls do.), then copying of form, rhythm, meaningful lines from famous poets, finally first own authorship and proud signing of a poem: BY JACK! I love the fact that Jack's first poem has a secret meaning we can't grasp until he has told the story of his beloved dog at the end of the book. It is amazing to be part of his experience of William Blake's beat in Tyger, Tyger, how he transforms the wild, fearful tiger of nature into a blue, speeding car, modern and urban but equally dangerous and unpredictable.
I did not like this book at all. I thought that it was really boring and I didn't understand it. It had nothing to do with the title of the book and I would recommend this book to anyone. It's like 80 pages and really boring.
Love that dog was a great poetry book. It would be a good poetry read for people who don't read poetry a lot or don't like poetry because it has an easy concept. It was easy to follow along with and it was a great read for me. I normally don't like poetry book and I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. The story to this book was very simple but it was fun to follow along with and was easy to keep track of.
This was probably the worst book I have ever read. So sorry if you liked it and found it emotional or something, but it was honestly terrible. The only good part about it was that it was short so I didn't have to stick with it that long. My biggest problem with this book was that it was set up funny and I couldn't stand it. You might like it if you really like poetry.
I love love love this book! It was my favorite by Sharon Creech until she published Heartbeat, and now I can't say which I like more. It is written entirely in free verse written in the school notebook of a boy who is a reluctant poetry pupil. The poetic form, believability of Jack (the main character), and the story he ultimately tells are simply smashing. This book would also be a great way to introduce young people to poetry; Jack's responses to a few well-known poems are written in his notebook, and the text of the poems is included in the back of the book (The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and The Pasture by Robert Frost, part of The Tiger by William Blake, dog by Valerie Worth, Street Music by Arnold Adoff, The Apple by S.C. Rigg, and Love That Boy by Walter Dean Myers). But you really have to read an excerpt of the book to see how neat it is.
As I start my poetry unit with my high schoolers, this book seems to emulate all the negative feelings about poetry that my students have expressed already. As the main character gets more immersed in poetry and positive feedback on his writing, the more he learns to enjoy poetry — an outcome I am hoping my students will have too! There is a lot that could be discussed with this book (character development, imagery, form) and I think it would be a great book to start out a poetry unit.
I love this book, it could be a great book to read before starting a poetry unit to get out all those frustrations and worries. Love the plot, the format, the messages, love it all. More like love that book... right...?
I am so happy Dr. Junko Yokota suggested this novel to read because it is one of her favorites. I feel Sharon Creech , winner of the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons, took me to a place that was full of sounds, images, and forms. This short novel is a weekly journal entry from the point of view of Jack, a young student, initially appalled at the suggestions to read, let alone, write a poem. Each week a poem was recited to the class and his journaling about the assignment showed a progression of his emotional struggles and successes of putting "himself" out there with poetry. Jack found his favorite poet and grows into his "own" to help others write their own poetry. The rhythm steadily gains speed and you will not want to put the book down until the very end. I read it aloud and had to stop using my voice while my eyes kept up with the pace. I found my throat swelled and even a tear touched my cheek and then off to another celebration of experiences that I was connecting to. A pause I was a bit embarrassed to explain to the hubby about. I feel Sharon Creech demonstrates how Jack evolved by having access to wonderfully diverse and rich poetry and embodied this lesson in a cute verse with more space between the lines like how Jack wrote it the first time. This is a great read for fourth through sixth grades and feel everyone can be drawn in by Jack's poetic process.
I love poetry and I love this book. I read it to my students every year and I never get tired of it. (It also makes me cry every freaking time.)
In my class, we look at one or two famous poems each week. This year, before I read the book, I made sure we'd looked at every poem Creech mentions. We even wrote some "inspired by" poems of our own. It was a lot of fun and it helped A LOT when we read the book. I think the kids enjoyed the book a lot more.
Will continue reading to my students. Great book of poetry and a sweet story to boot!
Review #2 - December 31, 2015
Read it out loud to my fifth graders. They didn't seem to love it as much as the fourth graders did. Doesn't matter, I still loved it. Fantastic book!
Review #1 - January 10, 2014 I love this book. I've read it several times and the last time I read it was to the fourth graders. They loved it as well. It's a very tender story about a boy and his dog, all told through poetry. Creech does an excellent job weaving famous poetry throughout the story. It was a great introduction to our poetry unit and only took 2 days to read. (You can read the whole book in about 30 minutes.)
When I young my reading teacher read this book to the class and I did not appreciate the story. I thought it was a weird way for us to get into writing poetry. However, as an adult I read it to one of my students and really enjoyed it. I don't think my student understood the book or liked it as much as I did, but I found this to be a great read.
The main character, Jack, hates poetry, but when his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won't stop giving her class poetry assignments Jack had to do them. When Jack started writing poetry, he discovered that he was actually very good and had a lot to say. This book is his story throughout that process.
I was completely unprepared for the emotional toll this lovely book had on me. I had tears running down my face... I giggled... I held my breath... This was an absolutely eye-opening reading experience for me. I wish that I had had a Miss Stretchberry to teach me to love and write poetry as Jack does during this book.
Since I didn't have that opportunity, it makes me want to learn to be a bit more like Miss S. for my own students... If you have any other books I should read to inspire this kind of teaching and writing, please share.
I’m not sure why writers seem to get off on having beloved companion animals die in their novels, but it’s abundantly clear to me that some of them do. In this case the dog in question is tragically hit by a car.
I saw this book talked up at a literacy workshop years ago. I could hardly believe it. What on earth were these people thinking? I continue to appreciate the title of one of Gordon Korman’s novels for kids: No More Dead Dogs. Amen.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Usually when I think of poems, I think of deep meaning text that has a secret behind the words. I liked this book, but I dont think it made those expectations. However, it was still a great book that I recommend to most!