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Love That Dog: A Novel

by Sharon Creech

Published by Joanna Cotler Books / HarperCollins, 2001
84 pages
ISBN: 0-06-029289-X

Ages 8 - 12

Jack hates poetry. He hates reading it and he hates writing it. So when his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, forces him to write one poem every week, Jack pours out his displeasure in poetic form. Over the course of the year, we see him develop, both as a writer and as a human being. From his writing we can tell specific poets he's being forced to read in school -- William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, William Blake not only because Jack makes specific (nasty) comments about their work but because we can see their poetry shaping Jack's own work. (For the reader's convenience, these specific poems are reprinted in the back of the book.) A deeper story also emerges from Jack's writing: something has happened in his past that he doesn't like to talk about. Writing proves to be therapeutic for him, as well. The turning point for Jack comes with a school visit from his favorite author, Walter Dean Myers, whose poem "Love that Boy," from Brown Angels, provides the inspiration for Jack's own perfect poem, "Love That Dog," signaling the emergence of the poet Jack, who has learned to use words to express his innermost feelings. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children; Poetry.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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