This book was handed to me by the woman in charge of curriculum at my current school. She told me that it was the newest book that they had ordered for bibliotherapy. I was immediately intrigued because I have read other books by Creech before and was interested in what this one was like. Once I found out it was written as a series of free verse poems I was a little more hesitant but decided to give it a try. It took me 15-20 minutes to read straight through- which especially for the population of students I’m working with is a big plus! The book is written as if a early teen boy wrote the poems and through them a small story line develops revolving around his feelings about poetry and about his pet dog.
One of the things I really really enjoyed about this book is that Creech included references to well known poetry such as The Red Wheelbarrow, some of Robert Frost’s poems, and poetry by Walter Dean Myers (one of my favorite YA Lit Authors). The focus for the bibliotherapy aspect of the book is to encourage our students to use writing as an outlet, identify their feelings, and to discuss loss and grief. In addition to that I think that we can really use this book to explore a poetry unit- focusing specifically on the poems mentioned int he book and then writing our own poetry as well.
When I hopefully do teach this book I will fill you in on how it goes, and perhaps find a way to post any activities that I create or adapt to go with it!
This book is definitely a 6-9th grade book. I would recommend it for middle school primarily, though reluctant readers in 9th grade may appreciate its brevity. Our class is primarily male and we are hoping that the male protagonist will make it appealing to them.
Mitten Award (Michigan)
Claudia Lewis Poetry Award