Love that Dog
by Sharon Creech
In Miss Stretchberry’s room, number 105, Jack writes, “I don’t want to/ because boys/ don’t write poetry./ Girls do.” But slowly his resistance lessens. And as he emulates the poets he reads in Miss Stretchberry’s class, he begins to reveal that he has suffered a terrible loss. In his first poem (emulating William Carlos Williams), Jack writes, “So much depends/ upon/ a blue car / splattered with mud/ speeding down the road.” With Jack’s resistance to poetry also comes a great deal of humor (“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”). As his journal entries unfold, a trust deepens between Jack and his teacher, and also in his own ability to reveal the truth in his writing. Sharon Creech won a Newbery Medal for her earlier book, Walk Two Moons, but here she demonstrates how few words are necessary to convey deep feeling. Jack’s spare entries will inspire your youngsters’ appreciation of poetry and of the healing that can come with communicating about the things that trouble them.
Here Sharon Creech and her editor, Joanna Cotler, discuss their process of working on Love that Dog: