Do you teach upper-elementary or middle school English? This book is a MUST for poetry units! You could plan a whole unit around the poetry references in Love That Dog!
So Love That Dog is book #9 of my 100 Book Reading Challenge for 2018. I really need to catch up to my 100 Book Challenge students, who are starting to poke fun at me because I am already so far behind. So for the next two weeks, I am doing “Book Blitz”: one short book each day for 14 days. I probably won’t formally review all of the short books I read on my blog, but I will definitely review all of them on Goodreads and on my MrsReaderPants Facebook page.
AUTHOR: Sharon Creech
SERIES: Jack, book 1
PUBLICATION DATE: April 8, 2008
SOURCE: my library
GENRE: free verse, realistic fiction
SETTING: modern-day; suburb of an unknown city
GIVE IT TO: ES, MS
SUMMARY: Jack’s teacher is making him write poetry, which Jack isn’t any good at. Worse, she wants to hang it up for the whole class to see. At least she agrees not to put his name on it!
REVIEW: This book inspired me to write my own poem:
I don’t get it
Why this book is so beloved
But then I read some reviews
And tried to write a poem
And while I still don’t really get the appeal
I almost cried
When the sweet dog died.
So I guess that’s
I read it in about 20 minutes.
Which is great
I’m 10 books behind
And my students are like
“Gosh, Mrs. Collazo,
You are really behind
So this makes book #9.
Out of 100.
That’s most definitely
And I can see why
Teachers use it to teach
It made me want
to write a poem, too.
I may even use it myself.
So I’m changing
My 3-star rating
So a teacher-friend at my school (who is also trying to keep up with her own 100 Book Challenge!) recommended this book to me when her class was in the library. I update the students daily on my 100 Book Challenge progress, and I was telling them about my “14-Day Book Blitz” and how it’s going.
I read this in about 20 minutes while waiting for my Candy Crush lives to update. I honestly didn’t get the appeal at first. It’s an incredibly simple story about a boy named Jack who learns to express himself through poetry. Hardly anything really happens. There is no action. There are really only three characters: Jack, his dog Sky, and his teacher.
But here’s the thing: This book made me want to write poetry, too. The rhythm of the lines is hard to get out of your head after reading. I started my Goodreads review, and it ended up as the poem above. I wrote it in maybe two minutes (one Candy Crush life, nearly restored!), and it actually made me think about writing more poems like it.
Believe me, I am no poetry writer. But if this book made me want to write poetry, it must also help students want to write it as well. Not to mention the poems discussed in the book, which are printed at the back. I taught almost all of those poems as a seventh grade English teacher, and I’ll bet many of you have, too. What a perfect complement to any elementary or middle school poetry unit!
THEMES: poetry, writing, grief, anonymity
THE BOTTOM LINE: This book came out in 2008, and I am certain many English and reading teachers already know its merits in classroom poetry units. If not, find twenty minutes in your day and give it a try!
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it. Will recommend, especially to English teachers.
- Overall: 4/5
- Creativity: 4/5
- Characters: 4/5
- Engrossing: 4/5
- Writing: 4/5
- Appeal to students: 3/5 (teachers can help boost the appeal by teaching the poems in the book)
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
- Language: none
- Sexuality: none
- Violence: mild; memory of dog being hit by a car is very sad
- Drugs/Alcohol: none