Getting through this book was a personal challenge for me, not because Love That Dog by Sharon Creech lacked quality, but because verse novels are really, really hard for me to finish. Like The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, I’ve been avoiding this book solely because of its form. However, finishing (and enjoying!) Love That Dog has encouraged me to try other verse novels, and recommend this to my students.
Creech’s other books vary so much from this one, that when I saw the austere cover and skimmed through the poems, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now I know to expect very few details about characters; a loose, nearly absent plot; and tons of allusion from her other verse novel, Hate That Cat. The English major in me loved the references to Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, and William Blake, and it was very smart for Creech to attach them to the back. I recommend reading them first, however, so you don’t miss out on any of the jokes.
Overall, I’m feeling positive vibes for Love That Dog. It’s easy and simple, yet I still felt connected to the narrator. Creech offers just enough details to make us want more, yet leaves a perfect amount of interpretation to be done. I think the quick pacing and “dog story” will be enticing to students, as well as the narrator’s love/hate relationship with poetry.