A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
APRIL 7:

  • Happy birthday Alice Schertle (All You Need for a Snowman, Little Blue Truck), and Cheryl Willis Hudson (Hands Can).
  • It’s the birth date of Donald Carrick (1929-1989), The Wednesday Surprise, Patrick’s Dinosaurs.
  • In 1795 France adopts the metre (meter) as a basic measurement of length. Hence, it is Metric System Day.
  • Best birthday wishes to the World Health Organization (WHO), established by the United Nations in 1948. And, by chance, it happens to be World Health Organization Day. Read Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss and Peek-a Who? By Nina Laden.

April has been designated Poetry Month by the  Academy of American Poets. If I could make any single volume the book of the month, I would choose Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog, published by the Newbery-Award winner author in 2001. In a small volume of one hundred pages, Sharon uses free verse to celebrate poetry and the writing of poetry.  Love That Dog also provides a lesson in modern poetic forms. And it shows, in a believable way, a young reader who becomes an advocate of poetry — a form he once hated.

On the first page we meet Jack, a student of Miss Stretchberry’s. He tells us simply “I don’t want to/because boys/don’t write poetry./Girls do.” But then readers watch Jack make some small attempts and respond to poems being read. (Many of these have been included in the book.) As the school year progresses from September through June, Jack develops as a writer—responding in more sophisticated ways to what has been presented to him. Over time his own poetry grows in complexity and skill.

Finally, toward the end of the year, Jack writes to Walter Dean Myers, because he has become a fan of Myers’s poetry. Myers actually comes to the school—and Jack writes a poem inspired by his hero. In a book that teachers use in grades three through six, Love That Dog can be read in less than an hour. Parents report success in reading the book aloud to children as young as five to seven years old. In this love letter to poetry and poets, Sharon Creech demonstrates how powerful a few pages and a few well-chosen words can be. With her background as a teacher, she has a keen grasp of children and of the teaching/learning process.

Anyone who would like to view a video clip created by TeachingBooks. net of Sharon Creech, along with Walter Dean Myers and Avi, performing this book in Readers’ Theater can do so here. It makes a wonderful addition to classroom activities and enriches the experience of reading the book.

Love that Dog has encouraged children to think about poetry, enjoy poetry, and write their own. Like so many of her fans, I love Sharon Creech. She knows how to engage children and adults as she tells a story — and she can bring out the hidden poet in all of us.

Here’s a section from Love That Dog:


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Originally posted April 7, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Animals, Dogs, School
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Love That Dog
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COMMENTS

  1. This book is just so…perfect. I cannot think of one single way to improve it.

  2. Kahla Jourdan says:

    I am using this with my fourth graders right now! I am wondering if there is any way to get a video of the full readers theater production? I watched the first bit of the clip you linked to, but what I saw only had snippits of the performance.

  3. Kahla Jourdan says:

    Oh, Jeez, nevermind! The individual performances are at the bottom of that screen! I clicked through to see the top one and missed it. I apologize. :)

  4. kkosko says:

    Here’s to ‘Love that DOG’- Kids and teachers alike enjoy sharing this book.
    It’s a chance to celebrate the power of poetry.

  5. Deb Tyo says:

    Thank you for the reminder about Readers’ Theater, a powerful way to connect kids to books and reading. Instead of my read aloud section of Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson today, I turned several pages into a Readers’ Theater piece. Stands were borrowed from the band room, and the students loved it. They were all clamoring for a part!

    Many students are now planning on sharing their recently written folktales via Readers’ Theater. Thanks, Anita, for the post and for putting my feet back on the path of Readers’ Theater.

  6. Ooh, yes, Readers’ Theater – my favorite way to engage a group with a book. I’ve yet to encounter a class or group that didn’t enjoy this form. And thanks, Anita, for highlighting this book!

  7. Anita says:

    Thanks for the comment — and thank you for this book, and all the others.

  8. Jamie says:

    When I moved across the country, this book was one of the few that made it to my scraggly new bookshelf, for good reason! It’s deceptively simple, and I love rereading it because of the beautifully written, layered poetry.

  9. Rebecca says:

    One of my all time favorites. The only poetry book I love even more is Jacqueline Woodson’s astounding Locomotion. Both are near perfect!

  10. Karen Smith says:

    I am very fortunate to have almost a class set of this book so students can read along or read parts. Also this new biography would be a good follow-up as he is one of the poets:
    A river of words : the story of William Carlos Williams / written by Jen Bryant ; illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

  11. Sam L. says:

    What I love about books written in poetic form (or free verse) is that they expose young readers to other ways of writing. Prose is not the be-all-end-all of literature, and I appreciate books that recognize the different forms of storytelling.

  12. Taeko says:

    Just recently I read the book and loved that! Thank you so much for introducing the performance. It was fabulous! All the fans of this books should see it.

  13. Kristina says:

    I started doing a Shared Reading of this book in my third grade classroom 3 years ago. The first year, a very loving hearted boy put down his head and sobbed when we reached the end of the book. I will never forget that moment. This year, it brought all kinds of emotional responses from a group of boys that typically don’t focus on what we’re reading. They all voted yes to reading Hate That Cat next!

  14. Anita says:

    Thanks so much for the comments. And Kristina, for the story. I love hearing about reader responses like this. Anita

  15. Margaret Mennone says:

    This is a great book! I absolutely LOVE Sharon Creech, she is one of my all time favorite authors. This particular story is really sweet, and I love the way Walter Dean Myers is incorporated. I think that kids who read this book will be curious to explore poetry and seek out books by Myers once they’re finished. I would also recommend ‘Heartbeat’ by Sharon Creech, another great book of hers written in verse. I actually know a running group (of adults) who read that one together.

  16. Momo says:

    Another fabulous blog entry about an absolute favourite book of mine. When I blogged about Love that dog Sharon Creech herself made a comment – even though this happened years ago I am still flying high on the emotion of these special words… she wrote to me “love that Momo”.

    Keep up the great work your blog is excellent.

  17. Allison Cole says:

    I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading this, but your description reminded me, like Rebecca, of Jacqueline Woodson’s Locomotion. I loved that and will definitely have to pick this one up.

  18. Cathy says:

    I LOVE this book! The first time I read it, I ran around the school sharing it with teachers hoping someone would use it in their classroom.

  19. G. Perry says:

    I read this book a few weeks after this review last year and I loved it. I felt that I was a boy again and completely identified with Jack. It made me realize that while I have always loved poetry, I never once felt I could come within light years of writing any. This book has changed my mind.

    Great review.

  20. Anita says:

    Gordon: Thanks for the post; good to hear from you.

  21. suzi w. says:

    Loved this book, recently read the sequel, hate that cat. what a delight. Thanks for the reminder, I should go back and revisit this one again.

  22. Mary Snyder says:

    I first shared Walk Two Moons with my sixth graders over 10 years ago. Ever since, I’ve devoured every one of Sharon Creech’s books. Imagine my delight when my own son, now a sixth grader himself, began describing the poetry of William Carlos Williams to me after school one day! It was a great joy for me to be able to share with him Love that Dog. For us to be able to connect over poetry was an amazing moment in our (I keep reminding myself–normal) roller-coaster, middle school relationship. I’m so thankful to Sharon Creech for writing books that help me connect, very personally, with my students and my son!

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