This is one of two winners of the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award for 2002:
Love that Dog by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins, 2001)
Here is a Digital Trailer for Love that Dog created by graduate student Reagan Sofia.
Here is a Readers' Guide for Love that Dog created by graduate student Judith McGill.
Creech, Sharon. Love that Dog. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001. ISBN 978-0060292874
This is a short verse novel in the form of journal entries throughout one school year. 11-year old Jack is reluctant to write poetry because he feels poetry is not for boys. His teacher, Mrs. Stretchberry, continues to encourage the class and Jack by reading short poems. She reads poems by William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, William Blake, Valerie Worth, Arnold Adoff, S.C. Rigg and Walter Dean Myers. It is because of these poems that Jack understands how poetry can tell of personal experiences. Jack recently lost his dog and he is heartbroken. Inspired by Walter Dean Myers’ Love That Boy, and with Mrs. Stretchberry’s continued support, Jack is now optimistic about writing poetry.
• ALA Notable Children’s Book
• IRA/CBC Children’s Choice
• NCTE Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts
• Carnegie Medal Finalist
• Publishers Weekly Best Book
• School Library Journal Best Book
• New York Times Bestseller
• Amazon.com Editors’ Pick
• Book Sense Pick
• Christopher Award
• Claudia Lewis Award
• Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award (Vermont)
• Maine Student Book Award
• Mitten Award (Michigan)
• Great Stone Face Book Award (New Hampshire)
• Volunteer State Book Award (Tennessee)
• New York Public Library’s “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing”
“A really special triumph.”
—Kirkus (Starred review*)
“This is a book for teachers to read aloud and talk about with kids.”
“A poignant, funny picture of a child’s encounter with the power of poetry.
This book is a tiny treasure.”
—School Library Journal (Starred review*)
"Creech examines the bond between a boy and his dog to create an ideal homage to the power of poetry and those who write it."
Questions to ask before reading
1. Judging from the cover, what is this book about?
2. Who is Sharon Creech and what other books has she written?
3. What are verse novels?
Suggestions for reading aloud
• Allow the children to take turns being Jack by reading aloud every two pages. Discuss the techniques (metaphors, similes, etc.) used by the author to paint a picture in the reader’s mind.
• Stop and discuss the book. Why does Jack want to remain anonymous? How does Jack’s attitude change as the story goes on?
• Just as Mrs. Stretchberry did, read a short poem every day and have the classroom discuss its meaning.
Follow up activities
Investigate why do dogs have their tongues hanging out of their mouths most times.
Find examples of consonance and rhyme in the poems.
Write a letter to an author or poet that you admire. Tell him or her which specific works have caught your attention and why.
Make a drawing of your favorite pet, present or past.
This is a website by Harper Collins Publishing on Sharon Creech. It includes biographical information on Ms. Creech, a list of her books, her upcoming books and a teacher’s guide.
This blog includes a digital trailer on Love that Dog.
This is the School Library Journal blog that lists Love That Dog in the Top 100 Children’s Novels.
This blog has the complete poem Love That Boy by Walter Dean Myers.
Creech, Sharon. Hate That Cat: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. ISBN 978-0061430947
—A sequel to Love That Dog. Jack continues to write poetry.
Myers, Walter Dean. Looking Like Me. Ill. by Christopher Myers. New York: EgmontUSA, 2009. ISBN 978-1606840016
—A book of poetry written by Walter Dean Myers about a kid who has many identities.
Schmidt, Gary D, ed. Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost. Ill. by Henri Sorensen. New York: Sterling, 2008. ISBN 978-1402754753
— A selection of Robert Frost’s poems together with water color illustrations for young readers.
Bruce, Cameron, W. A Dog’s Purpose. New York: Forge, 2010. ISBN 978- 0765366764
─ Read about the relationship between a human and a dog.
Bruce, Cameron, W. A Dog’s Journey. New York: Forge, 2012. ISBN 978- 0765330536
─ This is the story of a dog’s loyalty.
Desmond, Morris. Dogs: A Dictionary of Dog Breeds. North Pomfret, Vt.: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1570762198
─ Find the different dog breeds in this dictionary.