The Poet's Dogby Patricia MacLachlan Published 13 Sep 2016
|The Poet's Dog.pdf|
|Publisher||Katherine Tegen Books|
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From Newbery Medal winner Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about two children, a poet, and a dog and how they help one another survive loss and recapture love.
Teddy is a gifted dog. Raised in a cabin by a poet named Sylvan, he grew up listening to sonnets read aloud and the comforting clicking of a keyboard. Although Teddy understands words, Sylvan always told him there are only two kinds of people in the world who can hear Teddy speak: poets and children.
Then one day Teddy learns that Sylvan was right. When Teddy finds Nickel and Flora trapped in a snowstorm, he tells them that he will bring them home—and they understand him. The children are afraid of the howling wind, but not of Teddy’s words. They follow him to a cabin in the woods, where the dog used to live with Sylvan . . . only now his owner is gone.
As they hole up in the cabin for shelter, Teddy is flooded with memories of Sylvan. What will Teddy do when his new friends go home? Can they help one another find what they have lost?
"The Poet's Dog" Reviews
This is quite...slight. I'm sure a certain type of person would find it profound and beautiful, but that person is emphatically not me.
I have to start this review by saying I love Patricia MacLachlan. I truly do. Publishing this title as is I don't think did the author any favors nor will win her a new audience. It is an inexplicably short book. There is generally nothing wrong with that but more of everything needed to be told. A reader can have the best imagination possible but there is just too much left out. There are a few incredibly beautiful, emotional pages. I ultimately walked away feeling "Is that it?" It seemed more like a lengthy version of a story submitted to Cricket Magazine. I am saddened by the lost potential of The Poet's Dog. I have fantasies in my head of what MacLachlan may have been thinking or what she could have written. It might have been glorious. On a side note-the cover art is imaginative and stunning.
Sweet story about words and the value they have in our lives. Beautiful writing, reminding us of the beauty in a bond with a dog.
Let me preface my review by stating that as a middle school teacher, I usually read books through the dual lenses of what I think and what I think my readers will think. There are some books where what I think, what my readers think, and what younger readers think is similar. This book.... I can't tell yet.
It's about a talking dog who rescues two children from the harm of a storm. (There is a device for the talking dog ... the talking dog belonged to a poet who read out loud to him and learned to express his ideas in language that way.) The dog is without his owner and the children aren't able to reach their parents, so the three of them keep each other company in a small cabin in the woods. Sounds cozy, right?
For this title to be a stronger title for a middle grades audience, I would have wanted to see more immediate danger and peril, like The Honest Truth. I also wanted to see a more developed dog character -- if I had the honor of hearing my golden retriever dog-niece talk, she'd spend a lot of time saying, "I love you," "Can I eat this?" "Hold my hand, please," and "I don't usually like having my tail touched, but for you, I'll make an exception."
Readers looking for a speedier book than most MG titles might warm to this one. At 89 pages with generous margins and spacing, it's a good deal for a reader who needs volume-building confidence.
(Review from ARC)
Two children stranded in a snowstorm are found by a dog, who is able to lead them to shelter. A gentle, wistful, lyrical short story, from the point of view of the dog. Mixing the present with flashbacks of life with the poet. A little sad, but everything comes full circle in a lovely way.
Four-and-a-half. Almost five. A beautiful story narrated by Teddy, a dog. Teddy lived with a poet-teacher in a cabin in the woods until the poet died. He taught Teddy that poets and children understand the language of dogs...and Teddy sees it play out with the poet's students...some can hear him and understand. Most cannot, because they are not poets.
After the poet's death, Teddy lives in the cabin, with the help of another poet who visits and keeps things running. But one night, during a huge snowstorm, Teddy finds two children lost in the storm. He brings them to his home, and they learn more about each other.
Such a simple story...yet a profound picture of grief and loss and recovery. This coming from a cat person who desperately wishes my cats could have talked to me.
Short, deceptively simple, but beautiful. Find the jewels. There will always be a jewel or two.