Love That Dog
Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won't stop giving her class poetry assignments -- and Jack can't avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say.
The curriculet is being added to your library
This is a strange first page of a book isn't it? What do you notice? It looks like it is written by a boy in school in diary form. From the date of the entry, you can tell that this is towards the beginning of the year. We learn one very important thing about Jack - he doesn't like to write poetry!
"The Red Wheelbarrow" is a poem by a famous poet, William Carlos Williams. He wrote poems about ordinary things in life. Jack clearly doesn't "get" why this is a poem. You can listen to this poem after clicking on the link below. Do you feel the same as Jack about this poem? (This annotation contains a link)
"Do you promise/not to read it/out loud?"Who is Jack talking to in the highlighted text?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
Jack is still not understanding the poems his teacher is presenting. Interestingly, this book is written in a very peculiar way. In fact, the text on this page looks very much like a
Most diary entries are written in first-person point of view. While this is sort-of a diary entry, Jack isn't just writing for himself - he is also addressing his teacher. Watch the video below and ask yourself from which point of view is this story told? (This annotation contains a video)
Which word from this entry shows that this story is written in first-person point of view?
Jack is talking about making pictures in his head. Poetry is especially good for making pictures in your head because of all the description. Watch the video about this writing technique below. (This annotation contains a video)
Which quote from the text is an example of imagery?
How can you tell that Jack's attitude about poetry is starting to change?
Part One Quiz
Sometimes poetry feels just like how Jack describes it - if they are typed up like poems, then people just think they are poems. Do you agree with this? When your writing is all typed up - doesn't it feel like it is more real? Here's the thing...your writing is real; your poems are real. The moment you write something on paper it becomes REAL! When you write, you ARE a writer. Let's hope Jack discovers this at some point during the year.
Why does Jack choose the yellow dog at the shelter?
How can you tell that Jack's teacher is supportive of his attempts to write poetry?
Jack is beginning to make connections between the poems and his own life. This is a GREAT reading strategy called text-to-self. This is something you should do as you read - think about how you can connect this book to your life. Have you read any of the poems Jack has read? Do you feel the same way about writing poetry that Jack does? This will help you to more fully understand what you read.
Why does Jack write the word "THIN" the way that he does?
Is Jack starting to like poetry? Or maybe he is just finding the type of poems that appeal to him. The type of poem Jack is talking about is called a concrete poem. Take a look at the example below. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Jack finally let his teacher put his name on his concrete poem?
Which of the following character traits best describes Jack? Remember you can always use the Define function to look up any word you don't know.
Walter Dean Myers and the author of this book, Sharon Creech, are friends. In fact, this book was inspired because Sharon Creech hung the poem "Love That Boy" on her bulletin board and she wondered who that "boy" was. The boy became Jack in this book. Myers and Creech are on the far right of the photograph below. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the predominant emotion that comes through in the last diary entry regarding Jack's dog, Skye?
The teacher reassures Jack that Walter Dean Myers would not get mad at Jack for using his poem "Love That Boy" for inspiration. Lots of poets use other poems as jumping-off-points for other poems. In the classroom, this is called using a mentor-text. Have any of your teachers done this with poems or texts with your class?
What is the main difference between Jack at the beginning of the story and Jack in this highlighted section?
Jack clearly has respect and admiration for Mr. Walter Dean Myers. The poem has so much of an impact on Jack that he is compelled to ask him to come to his school for a visit. Have you ever met an author at your school?
Please listen to the author, Sharon Creech, read Jack's letter to Mr. Walter Dean Myers. Is it what you heard in your own head as you read? (This annotation contains a link)
Part 2 Quiz
Each chapter is like its own little free-verse poem. Free verse poems have no rules - no set number of syllables; no rhyming; no rhythm. It is a form of poetry that allows you to play with language and express yourself. Have you noticed how the author plays with language when she repeats words for emphasis like when Jack says, "and someone sorting sorting sorting all that mail." It seems like a fun way to write a poem.
What lesson is Jack learning when his teacher tells him that it could take months for Walter Dean Myers to respond to his letter?
Sometimes writers use figurative language to dress up their writing and help readers picture what they are saying. Watch the video below on similes and metaphors and be ready for a question about these concepts. (This annotation contains a video)
Thinking about what you learned in the previous video, "...until your brain feels like a squashed pea" is what type of figurative language?
Are you noticing any changes in Jack in this diary entry? Characters can be identified as either static or dynamic. Watch the video below to learn about the types of characters and decide which type applies to Jack. (This annotation contains a video)
Do you remember this car from one of the poems Jack wrote earlier in the year? He didn't want to tell why "so much depended on a blue blue car splatttered with mud speeding down the road" but it is likely we will find out now.
What can you infer the theme of this poem/diary entry is about?
Did you notice how the author sets up the good news of Mr. Walter Dean Myers visiting right after the sadness of Jack's poem? That is called juxtaposition. It's a technique used by writers to show contrast. Look at the image below. How is this a juxtaposition? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the author have Jack arrange the first five words in staggered fashion?
Can you feel this? The author using a simile here really helps the reader to understand what Jack feels.
How is Walter Dean Myers likely to feel upon receiving this letter?
Below is a book trailer for this book. After reading Jack's poem and watching the video, think about the similarities in tone that each creates. (This annotation contains a video)
Love That Dog
An excerpt is a small portion of a book. This book is also by Sharon Creech and is called "Hate That Cat." Do you have some ideas what it could be about?
Excerpt from Hate That Cat
This is the beginning of a new school year for Jack. He is back in Miss Stretchberry's class and writing poetry. What is similar about this poem in this book and what was in Love That Dog?
It seems like Jack writing about Sky in the previous book helped him to get over losing him in a car accident. He is now able to remember the happy memories about Sky and not just the terrible way in which he died. Have you ever written about someone or something you have lost?
How does Jack feel about his uncle Bill not recognizing his writing as "real" poetry?
After you finish the last quiz, turn the page and go to the "About the Author" page for a special treat!
Part 3 Quiz
Now that you have finished the book and the last quiz - you have a treat. Below is a Readers Theatre performance of "Love That Dog" performed by the author and a few of her friends including Mr. Walter Dean Myers! This video is a little long, so feel free to stop it at any time. Think about the performance and if it matches what you were imagining in your head as you read. Click on the video titled "Additional Move #1" for the performance of "Love That Dog." (This annotation contains a link)