I recently finished the novel “Love That Dog” by Sharon Creech. It is only 86 pages and was a quick read but it was still very enjoyable. It is a youth poetry book. This isn’t the first book I’ve read by Creech, I’ve also read “Walk Two Moons.” Sharon Creech was 56 when she wrote this in 2001. This book impresses because it isn’t exactly how I imagine poetry. She doesn’t write the way Dr. Seuss (one of few poets I know,) writes with perfect rhymes. Also it is impressive to me that she writes poetry and realistic fiction.
I chose this book because I was looking at the categories I need to fulfill and wanted one that I would also enjoy. I found poetry. When I saw the author’s name and recognized it so I decided to read the back. The summary was short but there was also a stanza from the novel. It made me wonder what the book was about since the summary hadn’t given much away. I didn’t expect to enjoy the book because it was so short and I don’t normally read poems. I ended up recommending the book to a friend, even though it wasn’t my favorite book.
Love That Dog is a short novel about a boy who at first, is very opposed to writing poetry. He doesn’t see why he needs to write poems and he doesn’t know how. He just separates his sentences into short lines. Everyday Jack gets a little better at the poems and tries a variety of different ways to write them. Most of his poems though are addressing his teacher, requesting that she doesn’t put his writing on the board. Then, he hears a poem written by a man named Walter Dean Myers and writes a poem inspired by his. He deciders that the teacher can put his name on it and put to on the board. Jack starts to care about poetry, so much that he is trying to have Mr. Myers as a guest in their classroom. But, will he disappointed and give up on poetry all together if he doesn’t come?
I was moved by the way one story changed the main character’s feelings and actions. It was impressive how the author did this in such a light-hearted novel. It changed the tone of the story to something with more passion. And it changed the poems that Jack wrote himself. Not only that, but the way he felt about himself. He felt more confident about himself and his poems.
The structure of this book was different from what I normally read, also from most poems. This book can easily be turned into a youth fiction story by only having the poems in the story, the ones he submits to his teacher. Also it is a bunch of short poems that tell different parts of the same story unlike poetry books like Shel Silverstein’s where there are a lot of short poems telling a bunch of different stories.
The character development in the novel was weak in this novel. I could only identify characteristics of one character. Of that character I only could find that he was shy and became more confident later on. Although character development in poems can be difficult, there could have added more of his feelings. There were a lot of thoughts instead of feelings.
I was interested by this passage:
when you are trying
not to think about something
it keeps popping back
into your head
you can’t help it
you think about it
think about it
until your brain
a squashed pea. (page 65.)”
It shows thinking that when readers read it, they are reminded of that feeling in other books or their own life. I think this is difficult to write in a way that gets every reader to think the way the character is but about something in their life.
I rate this book a 6.5 out of 10.