Monday, May 3, 2010

Spreading the Awesome: Sharon Creech's LOVE THAT DOG

You guys know Elana, right? How could you not...she's a blogging rockstar. Anyway, Elana came up with an awesome idea to link together a series of blog posts on author's favorite books, books they would give 10 out of 5 stars to. There's a whole chain of us doing this. So, if you came from Nichole's blog then keep clicking on through to Julia's blog next...and keep going through the chain, since many bloggers are also giving away copies of their favs!

So, the premise is to feature a book that we loved, that, in Elana's words, "a book you wish you could shout from your rooftop, 'This book is so $&%*# good it deserves 10 stars!'" A few books popped immediately into my mind--and if you've been reading this blog for a bit, you could probably pinpoint some of the usual suspects. 


There's this other book. One that I don't think gets enough attention. One that really moved me--I laughed and cried, and I've been thinking about it for months--nearly a year--after I first read it.

It's not my normal book that I love. It's a bit younger than my typical YA--I can see an elementary student easily reading this. It doesn't have kissing or bombs or explosions or new worlds or fairies or aliens or cussing or zombies or anything like that.


It's nothing like what I should like. It's not like any other book at all on my shelf, it's not the kind of book I could write...


It's a novel of poetry--a kid's experiment in journaling stemming from his teacher's assignment. The kid, Jack, doesn't really believe in poetry...and in a lot of ways, neither do I. Don't get me wrong--I appreciate good poetry. But whether it's a result of having taken too many stuffed-shirt college courses on the subject, or from drowning in ceaseless cliched teen angst poetry from my students, I'm often skeptical of any novels in verse.


The book centers around a particular poem that I hate. It's William Carlos William's poem about the wheelbarrow--a poem that one of those stuffed-shirt college professors loved, but that I always thought was stupid. And even though the narrator, Jack, also thinks the poem is a bit silly at first, there's no denying that this poem--perhaps my most hated poem of all poems ever--is the center and heart of this book.

It's a quiet book. A short read. Simple. There's depth to it, certainly--a twist at the end that ties all the poetic strings together. And there's emotion. You guys know I hate to cry. I hate to cry so much that when I hurt my foot and cried, my husband was willing to carry me to the ER--he'd never seen me cry before, and thought it was something really serious. And this book made me cry.
I should have hated it.

But the words.

Oh, how they are beautiful.

I can't help it. When I think back of all the books I've read recently, if I had to pick just one that really moved would be this one.

Perhaps the only thing that made me pick this one off the shelf was that it was about a dog, and I love dogs. Everything else--the verse, the tone, the age level, the style, the plot, the premise, even the final twist--all that was stuff that I normally hate in a book. Stuff that I avoid, that I roll my eyes at, that I warn people from reading.

But not this one.

This is the one book that I would hand to you no matter who you are. 

Because I know you'll love it, too.

Spread the awesome! Keep the recommendation chain going: go to Julia's blog next!
So...what's the ONE book that you want to shout about from the rooftops?
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