Monday, March 22, 2010
Love That Dog, Hate That Cat
Told in freestyle verse in the forms of notes to his teacher, Jack goes from hesitant and suspicious of this poetry business, to finding his own voice and expression. He decides to emulate the poet Walter Dean Myers and make a poem about his beloved dog, Sky. The reader gets hints about Jack's dog and his tenderness towards him, but not the whole story of what happened to the dog until later in the book. When I finally reached the end where Jack presents his poem about Sky, I burst into tears. Creech does an amazing job of guiding us through Jack's process in expressing his love for his dog and by the time you reach that poem, you ache for that little boy and his loss. It was a beautiful book. It reminded me of all the poems I learned about in the course of my public school education and how much they meant to me when I learned to understand them. The book is a fast read, but would be great as a read-aloud as a family. At the end of the book, Creech includes the poems that Miss Stretchberry taught to her class and that would a great starting point in discussing poetry to kids. It's on my list of books to read to my kids.
This is a great way to expose kids to non-rhyming, freestyle and more abstract poetry. After all, if you start young it only gets easier with time. Next, I'll be convincing you all to start playing opera to your family. Seriously, it's awesome. I'll find a way to get everybody hooked one of these days.