Novel: Love That Dog by Sharon Creech; narrated by Scott Wolf (35 minutes)
Release Information: January 1, 2002 from Harper Audio
Summary (from audible): 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.With a fresh and deceptively simple style, acclaimed author Sharon Creech tells a story with enormous heart. Written as a series of free-verse poems from Jack’s point of view, Love That Dog shows how one boy finds his own voice with the help of a teacher, a writer, a pencil, some yellow paper, and of course…a dog.
Thoughts: I’ve read this book a few times and it’s one of my favorites, so I was really excited to see the audiobook at the library. As a book that is about poetry and told through a poetry journal, the story is most effective when read out loud. While I loved the audio version, I think something is lost when you lose the visual component. Jack talks about spacing his poems, some of the poems are laid out in a specific way, etc. While I think this audiobook can stand on its own, it will be most effective in conjunction with the written text.
However, it’s easy to get swept up in the rythm of the poems and the story comes across clear. As a future teacher, I love a story about a teacher who inspires and motivates her students. Jack starts out hating poetry and comes to like it so much that he writes to his favorite poet and asks him to come to his classroom. More than that, though, Jack uses poetry to deal with the death of his dog. The story is short, but it’s deep and makes me tear up every time. (But sometimes it makes me laugh, too).
Moments I Loved: Walter Dean Myers visits Jack’s school and I love love love hearing Jack talk about the author visit.
WTF Moments: Potential Spoiler: Jack’s dog gets hits by a car and the car just keeps going. What a jerk!
Narrators: The narrator was really great. While there was a sort of disconnect for me, because it was definitely a man trying to read the written voice of a little boy, he did a great job capturing Jack’s vulnerability and slow-growing love of poetry. This book needs to be read out loud and so the audio version seemed like a no brainer.
Overall: This book will make you fall in love with poetry.