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Love That Dog

( 76 )

Overview

Jack

Room 105 — Miss Stretchberry

September 13

I don't want to because boys don't write poetry.

Girls do.

Meet Jack, who tells his story with a little help from some paper, a pencil, his teacher, and a dog named Sky.

A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding ...

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Love That Dog

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Overview

Jack

Room 105 — Miss Stretchberry

September 13

I don't want to because boys don't write poetry.

Girls do.

Meet Jack, who tells his story with a little help from some paper, a pencil, his teacher, and a dog named Sky.

A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Newbery Medal-winning author Sharon Creech tells a moving, amusing, and heartwarming tale in Love That Dog, a story written in freewheeling prose disguised as poetry. And poetry is something that young Jack can't stand -- it's confusing and odd and strictly for girls. But he can't seem to escape it, since his teacher insists on giving out assignments that require him to read and write the stuff. When he creates his own poetry and the teacher wants to post it on a board for the class to see, Jack insists on anonymity. But once he sees how good his poetry looks typed out in neat letters on yellow paper and hears approbation from his peers, he finally lays claim to his work.

As Jack struggles with his aversion to poetry, he finds delight in some unexpected places -- poems written in specific shapes, phrases he particularly likes, or images he can easily relate to. When he dissects the poems he is assigned to read, he provides his own childlike insight to the words of such literary greats as Robert Frost, William Blake, and Walter Dean Myers, making the whole concept of poetry less daunting. Before long, Jack begins to think that poetry isn't quite as bad as he once thought, and he even finds inspiration for writing some of his own after reading the words of Myers, who plays a more pivotal role by the book's end. In between his musings and writing, Jack also provides glimpses into his day-to-day life, where the meaning behind the book's title becomes joyfully, then tragically, clear.

Jack's comments about the poems he is assigned to study are further illuminated by the inclusion of the full works at the back of the book. And while Creech does tackle some painful subject matter, the bulk of this tale is as fun-loving and free-spirited as Jack's own exploratory verse. If she's not careful, Creech may create a whole new generation of poetry lovers. (Beth Amos)

Publishers Weekly
"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," said PW in a boxed review. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
From The Critics
If poetry is the power of few words, then Love That Dog by Newbery Award-winning novelist Sharon Creech is a delightful poem of a novel. On the surface, it is the poetry journal of a boy named Jack. The journal entries begin September 13th and, over the course of a school year, not only do they demonstrate the emergence of a talented young poet but also reveal a secret about Jack's life. Why does Jack not want to write about his yellow dog and why does "so much depend" on a "blue car/ spattered with mud/ speeding down a road"? Although Jack is skeptical at first because "boys/ don't write poetry./ Girls do," his jewel of a teacher, Miss Stretchberry, is gradually able to engage him in reading and writing poetry. Her name alone suggests a talented and sensitive teacher who is able to "stretch" a child's emotional and intellectual growth. Jack's weekly responses to her lessons and letters to him are humorous and believable. The book could easily be used in elementary classrooms in conjunction with a poetry unit. Creech, a talented poet and teacher herself, demonstrates a deep understanding of how young minds open to poetry through reading and responding. Journaling for Jack is obviously therapeutic. His journal entries get progressively longer and more confident. Wonderful poems by poets like William Carlos Williams, William Blake, Robert Frost, Arnold Adoff, and especially Walter Dean Myers convince Jack that poetry is not just for girls. Lines from these poems inspire and inform Jack's writing, and when Myers actually comes to talk to Miss Stretchberry's class, Jack comes down with a serious case of hero worship. He wants to "keep Mr. Walter Dean Myers . . . forever." Jack's poem "Lovethat Dog" is inspired by Myers's "Love That Boy" (Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse, HarperCollins, 1993): Love that dog, / like a bird loves to fly / I said I love that dog / like a bird loves to fly / Love to call him in the morning / love to call him / "Hey there, Sky!" When, at the end, he is able to proudly send Myers his poem, it is obvious that Jack has found his inner voice. The cover art by William Steig is eye-catchingly different and startlingly apt, a visual haiku. With its simple black sketch of a lop-eared dog on a yellow background, it could easily be something a child might have drawn for a book report. Although Love That Dog is intended for eight- to twelve-year-olds, poetry lovers of all ages will enjoy this book. So, with inspiration from Myers and Creech, I would like to conclude with this recommendation: Love this book, / like a boy loves his dog, / I said I love this book / like a boy loves his dog, / love to read this book / like a salad loves a carrot, / love to recommend it / as a Five Owls' Book of Merit. 2001, Joanna Cotler, 112 pages, Lindow
Children's Literature
Newbery-winning author, Sharon Creech, uses verse in Love That Dog At first, Jack, the narrator of the book, is skeptical about poetry. He begins, "I don't want to/because boys/don't write poetry. /Girls do." He's a bit more open in his second entry, "I tried. /Can't do it. /Brain's empty." In a believable sequence of poems, Jack comes to appreciate poets like William Carlos Williams and Robert Frost and his interpretations of their work give glimpses into his tender heart and clever mind and we know why his teacher works so hard to draw him out. By the story's end he has been captured by the power of poetry, and inspired by the work of Walter Dean Myers. Jack writes a poignant poem about his beloved dog. Poetry is the perfect vehicle for a book about a boy's acceptance and imitations of this genre. The poems mirror and guide his creativity and courage to risk. In under 100 pages of short verses, the author exposes children to some wonderful poems and tracks Jack's journey into artistry with the very form that speaks to him. 2001, HarperCollins, $14.95. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Susie Wilde
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Jack keeps a journal for his teacher, a charming, spare free-verse monologue that begins: "I don't want to/because boys/don't write poetry./Girls do." But his curiosity grows quickly as Miss Stretchberry feeds the class a varied menu of intriguing poems starting with William Carlos Williams's "The Red Wheelbarrow," which confuses Jack at first. Gradually, he begins to see connections between his personal experiences and the poetry of William Blake, Robert Frost, and others, and Creech's compellingly simple plot about love and loss begins to emerge. Jack is timid about the first poems he writes, but with the obvious encouragement and prodding of his masterful teacher, he gains the courage to claim them as his own in the classroom displays. When he is introduced to "Love That Boy" by Walter Dean Myers, he makes an exuberant leap of understanding. "MARCH 14/That was the best best BEST/poem/you read yesterday/by Mr. Walter Dean Myers/the best best BEST/poem/ever./I am sorry/I took the book home/without asking./I only got/one spot/on it./That's why/the page is torn./I tried to get/the spot/out." All the threads of the story are pulled together in Jack's final poem, "Love That Dog (Inspired by Walter Dean Myers)." Creech has created a poignant, funny picture of a child's encounter with the power of poetry. Readers may have a similar experience because all of the selections mentioned in the story are included at the end. This book is a tiny treasure.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick

Written entirely in free verse, this slender novel by Newbery-medalist Creech paints a poignant picture of a boy who is reluctant at first to try his hand at poetry: "I don't want to/because boys/don't write poetry/Girls do."

Kirkus Reviews
Versatile Newbery Medalist Creech (A Fine, Fine School, p. 862, etc.) continues to explore new writing paths with her latest, written as free verse from the viewpoint of a middle-school boy named Jack. Creech knows all about reluctant writers from her own years of teaching, and she skillfully reveals Jack's animosity toward books and poetry, and especially about writing his own poems. He questions the very nature of poetry, forcing the reader to think about this question, too. Jack's class assignments incorporate responses to eight well-known poems (included in an appendix) and gradually reveal the circumstances, and Jack's hidden feelings, about the loss of his beloved dog. Jack's poetry grows in length, complexity, and quality from September to May, until he proudly sends his best poem about his dog and a heartfelt thank-you poem to Walter Dean Myers after the author's school visit. The inclusion of the eight poems is an advantage, because comments on the poems are often part of Jack's poetry. Others not already familiar with these famous poems, though, might miss the allusions in Jack's work. (There is no note at the beginning of the book to point the reader to the appendix.) But it's a quick read, offering a chance to go back and look again. Teachers will take this story to heart, recognizing Miss Stretchberry's skilled and graceful teaching and Jack's subtle emotional growth both as a person and a writer. This really special triumph is bound to be widely discussed by teachers and writers, and widely esteemed by Creech's devoted readers. (Fiction/poetry. 9-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064409599
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 29,430
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1010L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharon Creech

Sharon Creech is the author of the Newbery Medal winner Walk Two Moons and the Newbery Honor Book The Wanderer. Her other work includes the novels The Great Unexpected, The Unfinished Angel, Hate That Cat, The Castle Corona, Replay, Heartbeat, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, Ruby Holler, Love That Dog, Bloomability, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Chasing Redbird, and Pleasing the Ghost, as well as three picture books: A Fine, Fine School; Fishing in the Air; and Who's That Baby? Ms. Creech and her husband live in Maine.

Good To Know

In her interview with Barnes & Noble.com, Creech shared some fun facts about herself:

"One of my most interesting jobs was in graduate school, working with the Federal Theatre Project archives (a Library of Congress collection, then based at George Mason University). I catalogued original illustrations for set and costume designs, some by Orson Welles. It was fascinating work!"

"I once fell 20 feet from a tree, was knocked unconscious, and when I picked myself up and straggled home, my parents thought I was making it up. However, when my brother and I fabricated a story about an encounter with a bear, they believed that! So maybe I learned very early on that fiction was more interesting to listeners!"

"As readers can probably tell from my books, I love the outdoors. I love to hike, kayak, and swim. I also love to read (which is probably not a surprise) and I love the theater and art museums. I especially love all the instruments of art: inks, pens, paintbrushes, watercolors and oils, fine papers and canvases, and although I love to mess around with these tools and objects, I have minimal artistic skills."

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    1. Hometown:
      Pennington, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 29, 1945
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cleveland, Ohio
    1. Education:
      B.A., Hiram College, 1967; M.A., George Mason University, 1978

Read an Excerpt

Love That Dog

Jack

Room 105 -- Miss Stretchberry

September 13

I don't want to
because boys
don't write poetry.

Girls do.

September 21

I tried.
Can't do it.
Brain's empty.

September 27

I don't understand
the poem about
the red wheelbarrow
and the white chickens
and why so much
depends upon
them.

If that is a poem
about the red wheelbarrow
and the white chickens
then any words
can be a poem.
You've just got to
make
short
lines.

October 4

Do you promise
not to read it
out loud?
Do you promise
not to put it
on the board?

Okay, here it is,
but I don't like it.

So much depends
upon
a blue car
splattered with mud
speeding down the road.

October 10

What do you mean'
Why does so much depend
upon
a blue car?

You didn't say before
that I had to tell why.

The wheelbarrow guy
didn't tell why.

October 17

What was up with
the snowy woods poem
you read today?

Why doesn't the person just
keep going if he's got
so many miles to go
before he sleeps?

And why do I have to tell more
about the blue car
splattered with mud
speeding down the road?

I don't want to
write about that blue car
that had miles to go
before it slept,
so many miles to go
in such a hurry.

October 24

I am sorry to say
I did not really understand
the tiger tiger burning bright poem
but at least it soundedgood
in my ears.

Here is the blue car
with tiger sounds:

Blue car, blue car, shining bright
in the darkness of the night:
who could see you speeding by
like a comet in the sky?

I could see you in the night,
blue car, blue car, shining bright.
I could see you speeding by
like a comet in the sky.

Some of the tiger sounds
are still in my ears
like drums
beat-beat-beating.

October 31

Yes
you can put
the two blue-car poems
on the board
but only if
you don't put
my name
on them.

November 6

They look nice
typed up like that
on blue paper
on a yellow board.

(But still don't tell anyone
who wrote them, okay?)

(And what does anonymous mean?
Is it good?)

November 9

I don't have any pets
so I can't write about one
and especially
I can't write
a POEM
about one.

November 15

Yes, I used to have a pet.
I don't want to write about it.

You're going to ask me
Why not?
Right?

November 22

Pretend I still have that pet?

Can't I make up a pet'
a different one?
Like a tiger?
Or a hamster?
A goldfish?
Turtle?
Snail?
Worm?
Flea?

November 29

I liked those
small poems
we read today.

When they're small
like that
you can read
a whole bunch
in a short time
and then in your head
are all the pictures
of all the small things
from all the small poems.

I liked how the kitten leaped
in the cat poem
and how you could see
the long head of the horse
in the horse poem
and especially I liked the dog
in the dog poem
because that's just how
my yellow dog
used to lie down,
with his tongue all limp
and his chin
between
his paws
and how he'd sometimes
chomp at a fly
and then sleep
in his loose skin,
just like that poet,
Miss Valerie Worth,
says,
in her small
dog poem.

December 4

Why do you want
to type up what I wrote
about reading
the small poems?

It's not a poem.
Is it?

I guess you can

Love That Dog. Copyright © by Sharon Creech. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 76 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(48)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 76 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2008

    great book

    A great story. For all Ages.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2006

    Gotta Get it.

    Love that dog is a wonderful book for those of you who like poetry. It is a beautifuly written novel. It is very calming funny, happy and sad all at the same time. I mean... Why would one kid love to write poetry that much? I am a fifth grader from C.T, and i love the booK love that dog!!!!!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2006

    WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS

    A friend of mine reccomended I check this out from the library. So I read it. I don't GET why everyone likes it! It's HORRIBLE!!!If you are looking for something WORTH READING, then don't get this book! I think its weird how everyone says, 'Oh mi gosh this book is so adorable! So wonderful!' Well, don't beleive them because it's not! I really think you should NOT waste your time on this, and get something better, with a SENSIBLE plot, a better story line, and altogether a better book!

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2009

    TERRIBLE BOOK!

    I read this whole book, and it did not empress me! I DO NOT recommend this book to anyone! If you ask me, DON'T READ 'Love that cat!' It'll probally be just as dissapointing! Everybody loves this book but it's terrible! There is no storyline and it doesn't make sense! !WARNING! !DO NOT READ THIS BOOK! MAY CAUSE BORDNESS FOR LIFE! P.S. If you had a choice between going to prison and reading this book choose prison. You'll have more fun there than you ever will reading Love that Dog!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2008

    Quick read- touching, great for teachers

    I read this book in about 15 minutes... the idea of reaching into the mind of a young boy through a poetry journal, and seeing his interest in poetry grow and develop as he questions and experiments with words and thoughts is innovative and enjoyable. Also, touching from the perspective that the boy is confortable sharing the very private thoughts about his dog, Sky, through this journal and with his teacher. Highly recommend.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2008

    A Point Of View Told Secretly but Yet So Obvoiusly

    This book has hidden meanings, hidden messages, but most of all, a wonderful story that will make you look at life in a new way. Any age that is able to read will enjoy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2008

    Great BOOK

    I would have rather read it myself, but my 6th grade teacher read it to us, so i listened, and i liked, and although u may have not liked it, it was a great book. And maybe it was not supposed to have a plot it was just a wild fantastic book that was just about a little boy and his community. So whether you heard good reviews or not, just try it please and put some thought to it. Reading isnt just about finishing a book and saying if you liked it a lot. Reading is about becoming the book and really truely understanding it. Thank you.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2008

    wow

    Although this was a childern's book, there was really quite a bit of adult content in there. The topic is a hard one, and she expressed it so very well. I am quite a bit older than the suggested age, but i recommened it to any one that has had to deal with any lose of any kind.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2008

    Amazing!

    The novel I read is Love that Dog, by Sharon Creech. This is a book of poems. The main character is jack. He writes poems of inspiration and of how his days go at school. The poems he writes are so beautiful. Jack talks about how poems are written, how they can be in shapes, and how things that aren¿t poems can look like it and make it sound better though. He also rewrites a poem by witch is Mr. Walter Dean Myers. The teacher talks about him in class witch gives Jack the inspiration to do this. Though he feels little gilt, witch is fine. My favorite poem in this book is ¿The Tiger¿, by William Blake. Even though this book will take you a day or less to read, because its short poems, I recommend you to read this aloud to yourself or to others. It makes it sound a lot better. I give this book two thumbs up. I recommend it to everybody. Well I hope you get the chance to read this wonderful book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2007

    Ubbsessed With That Dog

    It was fantastic I read it with my family we laughed and cried. I am touched.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    The Best Book to Read

    Have you been embarrassed about what people think? An embarrassed poet named Jack loves to write poetry but he is afraid to share his work. In the book Love That Dog by Sharon Creech he learns to face his fears and stop worrying about what other people think. Sharon Creech is the winner of the Newberry medal for Walk Two Moons for the book Love That Dog. The book is mostly about how Jack loves to write poetry. But he is very embarrassed about showing people his writing will think of him when he shows friends or even his mom. But one day after school he admits that he writes poetry. I love this book because I loved to write poetry. The book is a lesson learning book because I think that you should never be afraid of what people think. Most of all Jack learned his lesson of not thinking about what people think. Sharron Creech is a good writer because her way of writing is easer to read because she is putting it in a poetic form. We hope people learn a lesson if you love something just do it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2006

    Great intro to poetry

    This is an excellent book to introduce students (or anyone for that matter) to poetry! I have seen so many students devour this book and come back for more. It is too cute and a quick, easy read that boosts confidence in the ability to read & write poetry.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2006

    The book that got me started!

    I've always wanted to be a writer, but after this book I write for at least 1/2 an hour everyday. This book made me laugh and cry and my life would be different without this book. This is the book that got me started!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2006

    No-fail pick-me-up

    'Love That Dog' now sits on a prominent place on my home library shelves, and when I was in grad school, it was always at hand on the desk. This book--a masterfully written tale of a young boy who, with an teacher's help, discovered an extraordinay talent--was discovered one night in a Pensacola, FL B&N. Mocha in hand, I ended up reading it cover to cover on the spot, sitting Indian-style on the floor of the children's section. I bought a copy on the spot, and have given away multiple gift copies. What writer doesn't need inspiration now and again? I often get mine here. I've rarely heard a blase report on this book--you'll love it or hate it. But at least give it a shot--becuase if you end up being a 'lover' you'll be amazed at how this short epistle can revolutionize your life.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2005

    Blak!

    Okay... So, my friend says, 'Hey, you should read this book, Love that Dog. It's wonderful!!' I read it all the way through, grasping the true meaning of this foolish book. Everyone thinks that it's so wonderful and adorable and blah, blah, blah! I'm so upset right now that I could put the book in a a shredder!!!!!!!!!!!! Get my point? PS- I'm not one of those people who just say stuff like this for fun. I'm not scamming you people who are reading this. This book is horrible!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2003

    BAD BAD BAD BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    this book was horrible. it had absolutely no plot. the poems were hardly deciferable. i would not buy this book, if you really fell like reading it. it only took me 20 min to read. go get it from the library if you must, cuz it would be a total waste of money.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2014

    This book is written in free verse in a diary format.  It is pre

    This book is written in free verse in a diary format.  It is presented from a young boy's view who resists poetry assignments from his teacher.  His name is Jack and he hates poetry because he thinks it is for girls and his brain feels empty. His wise teacher Ms. Stretchberry doesn't give up and just keeps handing out poetry assignments to her class.  Jack has to respond because assignments are mandatory, and then a beautiful thing happens.  The more he write poems the more he realizes that maybe they are not so bad after all.  Constantly writing he discovers he does have something to say and when his words are all typed up on yellow paper....man, they look mighty fine indeed and he feels very, very proud of himself and exuberantly happy.  
    Written with heart, Sharon Creech inspires through Jack that you can find your voice, you can unleash new creative ideas and skills that are buried deep inside of you and best of all you can have great fun doing it.  Yes you can..... before you say you can't .... at least give it a try before you give it up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Very unimpressed. Dissapointed with the reviews.  Very dull. Ok.

    Very unimpressed. Dissapointed with the reviews. 
    Very dull. Ok. She writes as if it's a poem. Ok. Point taken.
    Grossly overrated. 

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  • Posted December 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    i read this book when i was younger about 100 times. It was my a

    i read this book when i was younger about 100 times. It was my all time favorite and i still think about it now. read it to yourself, read it to your kids. its a true master piece 

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  • Posted September 10, 2012

    Can I tell you that I think this may be my favorite children's b

    Can I tell you that I think this may be my favorite children's book of all time??? I LOVE this book! The poetry is good. Really good. It is accessible to all readers. I love how she introduces young readers to classic poetry and then uses the narrator to explain it though he is confused at first... and includes the poems in the book!!! I love that her narrator is a boy who doesn't think he likes poetry but becomes a writer and and superfan of a poet. I love that the reader has to use so much inferencing... very good skill for young readers to work on. I read this book to my 8 yr old. She thought it was hysterical (I'm so glad she made poetry funny!). We also cried together in the pinnacle poem in the book. We read it straight through. We couldn't put it down. Then, I called my sister, who is a 5th grade teacher, and I told her that she MUST use this in her classroom. Accessible, fun, honest, GOOD poetry!!! Read this book and read it to your kids. Poetry is alive! :)

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