Saturday, November 28, 2009

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

Love That Dog? How about Love That Book? That was corny but it had to be done. Yes, I did love this book. It was charming and simple, yet deep in its own right. It introduces the idea that children of all ages, or anyone, for that matter can write poetry. Which is important for children to realize. This book would be so perfect to help introduce that to students because it shows an average little boy writing poetry that his teacher loves. I think that praise from the teacher is a good example for students to see, because even though Jack thinks his poetry is silly, his teacher wants to put it up on the board. It is also a good way to approach teaching poetry to students. Putting everybody's poetry up on the board for everyone to see, leaving off names if the student so desires. I thought that it was interesting that Jack didn't want his name on his poetry just because it is not uncommon for people to write poetry anonymously. It can be such a personal thing for people, as it clearly ended up being for Jack once he became more comfortable with the emotions that were coming up about his dog and the blue car. All in all I guess my favorite part about this book was that it brought poetry down from its seemingly lofty position and bestowed it upon us mere mortals and made it seem reachable.

Now that having been said, I really enjoyed this one but I have some issues. One thought was that it bothers me in the beginning that Jack thinks that anyone could write poetry, you just have to organize it right. This is just not true. The form is not what makes poetry, it is the rhythm and the rhyme and I feel like Jack's teacher should have make a better example of that. Though, I get it, this was written from a child's perspective and he wouldn't say that, but it bugged me. Also, I don't know if some of the verse was as a child would have written it, I don't really have a good example of it, some of it was just a little too adult like. This was brought up in class, and I have spent some time thinking about this; the seemingly quick transformation of Jack into a poet. I cant decided if I think this is realistic or not. If given enough stimulation and encouragement I think it is possible that Jack started to make the transition into thinking of himself as a poet. On the other hand though, it is not always that way, students could digress easily. I know of a student who takes it in turns to feel incredibly confident and very lowly. Maybe that would have made it a little more believable.

I would totally recommend this book for a classroom, even if you are not teaching a poetry unit. For just everyday reading, students would benefit from the reading of something that is classified as a chapter book, even though it is not very long. It would help their confidence in their reading. It could also get students thinking about writing poetry of their own. Not to mention that whole making poetry accessible thing.

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