Love That Dog

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Love That Dog Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Boy pours his grief into poetry in moving free-verse gem.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 13 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Introduces kids to the power of poetry and expressing thoughts and feelings in free verse. Shows how written journal entries can add up to a story. Jack’s class assignments incorporate responses to eight famous poems, which are all included in an appendix. A school visit from author Walter Dean Meyers figures in the story.

Positive Messages

Writing can help you process your feelings. Free verse and poetry can be an easier way to express your feelings than writing prose. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jack's teacher, Miss Stretchberry, encourages him to write and opens his mind to poetry. Jack is anti-poetry at first but then grown to appreciate it over the course of the school year and opens up about his feelings. He had a loving relationship with his dog, Sky. 

Violence & Scariness

References to the circumstances of Sky's death.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Love That Dog by Sharon Creech is told in the form of a boy's free-verse journal entries. The boy, Jack, expresses his feelings on all sorts of things, but especially about his late dog, Sky. The book packs a load of emotional and intellectual depth into a very accessible package. Great for reluctant readers, and may inspire all readers to appreciate and try their hand at poetry. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCommonSenseChristian May 3, 2015

Love This Book

We don't know if Jack is a reluctant reader, but he's certainly a reluctant poetry-writer. As he tells his teacher Miss Stretchberry, "Boys don... Continue reading
Parent of a 8, 13, and 16-year-old Written bydebk190 February 6, 2010

All ages love it

This book sparked an interest in all forms of poetry in our house.
I read it to my 8 year old and then reread it to my 13 year old son. We can't wait to... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 19, 2021
Kid, 12 years old April 23, 2019

Extremely boring

‘Love that dog’ is very consistent. The formate is basically a poem, next comes weather or not it can go on the board. Then repeat.

What's the story?

In this free-verse journal Jack reluctantly comes to feel the power of poetry, and uses it to express his feelings about school, writing, poetry, Walter Dean Myers, and his late dog, Sky. Includes an appendix with most of the poems mentioned in the story.

Is it any good?

In this minor masterpiece, author Sharon Creech accomplishes so much with so little -- no synopsis can convey what makes this book so involving, moving, uplifting. She captures a story, a voice, a mind, a heart. She inspires readers to write their own poems and gives a meaningful demonstration of the power of the form.

While the poems at first seem unconnected, the book is in fact tightly structured, and all the way through Creech is unobtrusively weaving together strands that come poignantly together in an emotional climax. Although many children will finish this book in one or two sittings, it bears numerous rereadings and much fruitful discussion, and is a gift to parents and teachers of reluctant readers who want to help their children learn to delve more deeply into literature.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the format of the book and its effectiveness. Do you like the author's use of poetry for telling a story? Does it make the story more powerful?

  • How do you think writing free verse helps Jack express his feelings about his dog? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love poetry

Themes & Topics

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