Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

lovethatdogHow can THIS

even BE a book?

my son asked.

It is, I said.

Just read it.

It is the story of a boy named Jack,

who thinks poetry is not for him.

Not for him, because his brain is

empty.

His teacher though,

she knows better.  You know,

like teachers do.

Over the course of the year,

Jack becomes inspired and

influenced.  He reads,

he understands,

he writes.

He gets it.

Love That Dog is a teeny tiny book that reminds us of the power of well-chosen words.  More is not always better.  My students often ask, as they sit down to write, “How much do I need to write?”  And I always say, “You write until you’re done.  No more, no less.”  This is why I like poetry.  It forces the writer to choose very carefully what to include, what to leave out, and how to compress an idea into a few, powerful words.  Sharon Creech is kind enough to include some of the “master” poems that are referenced in the story, so we can see how our character, Jack, has been influenced and inspired along the way.  As he writes and his confidence grows , he changes from a student who doesn’t not even want to post his name on his papers, into a student who extends himself and makes something awesome happen for his school.

I read this book in about 20 minutes.  It was fantastic.  It is still making me think about poetry today and how I want to go about teaching my upcoming poetry unit in language arts.  For a book so small, Love That Dog is incredibly sticky.  It will be awhile before I can get this one unstuck from my brain!  Love That Dog has an AR level of 4.5 and is worth 1 point.