60 pages 2 hours read

Sharon Creech

Love That Dog

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | Middle Grade | Published in 2001

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Teacher Introduction

Love That Dog 

  • Genre: Fiction; poetry; children’s literature 
  • Originally Published: 2001 
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 1010L; grades 4-6 
  • Structure/Length: Free verse poetry; approximately 128 pages; approximately 34 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The protagonist is a young boy named Jack who discovers his love for poetry through school assignments. The central conflict revolves around Jack’s emotional journey, his initial reluctance to express himself through poetry, and his growing connection to it as he is inspired by his beloved dog. 
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: loss; dealing with grief; emotional expression and vulnerability

Sharon Creech, Author 

  • Bio: Born 1945; American writer based in Europe; writes children’s and young adult fiction; explores themes of growth, emotion, and self-discovery; often incorporates poetic and unconventional narrative styles; significant figure in contemporary children’s literature 
  • Other Works: Walk Two Moons (1994); The Wanderer (2000); Ruby Holler (2002); Heartbeat (2004) 
  • Awards: Christopher Award (2001)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • What Makes a Poem
  • Voices Have Power
  • The Purpose of Poetry

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Teaching Guide, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of the literary contexts regarding the use of poetry in the classroom as an outlet to express emotion and establish young students’ voices, which impacts Jack’s journey as a writer.
  • Analyze paired texts and other brief resources to make connections via the text’s themes of What Makes a Poem, Voices Have Power, and The Purpose of Poetry.