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The Poet's Dog
Cover of The Poet's Dog
The Poet's Dog
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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. "Just what I needed," raves...
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. "Just what I needed," raves...
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Description-

  • 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. "Just what I needed," raves Brightly.com. "It's a heart-warming story of loss and love that filled me with hope for a better future and renewed my belief in good."

    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?

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Patricia MacLachlan is the celebrated author of many timeless books for young readers, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal. Her novels for young readers include Arthur, For the Very First Time; The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt; Skylark; Caleb's Story; More Perfect than the Moon; Grandfather's Dance; Word After Word After Word; Kindred Souls; and The Truth of Me; she is also the author of countless beloved picture books, a number of which she cowrote with her daughter, Emily.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 20, 2016
    Newbery Medalist MacLachlan creates a spare, moving tale told from the perspective of Teddy, the dog of the title. Teddy can speak, but only poets and children can understand him, so Teddy isn’t surprised when both Nicholas (Nickel) and his younger sister, Flora, ask him for help when they get lost in a snowstorm. Since the death of his owner and friend, Sylvan, Teddy has relied on Sylvan’s student, Ellie, for care. But Ellie and Teddy know that the arrangement isn’t forever, and Teddy needs to find a way to move on and love again. Using simple words that even youngest readers will understand and enjoy, MacLachlan tackles subjects such as death and mourning with understated grace (“And he closes his eyes, his hands still on my neck. By the time Ellie gets there he is still. Silence”). Overarching themes of love and family permeate the narrative, providing readers of all ages with a deep understanding of the relationship Teddy had with his previous owner and the one he is building with his new family. Ages 6–10. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from June 1, 2016
    An unusual dog rescues two children from a storm.Teddy, an Irish wolfhound, has lived with Sylvan, a poet, in a rural cabin ever since his rescue from a shelter. Teddy learns human language, but Sylvan tells the dog only poets and children will understand when he speaks. When Sylvan sickens and dies, Teddy stays on at the cabin, and during a blizzard a few days later, Teddy finds two children, Flora, 8, and Nickel, 11, lost in the storm. (Oddly, the cover illustration shows the children as black-haired and brown-skinned, but in the text Nickel is described as having blond hair, implying whiteness.) Teddy leads the children to Sylvan's cabin, where they make it a cozy shelter. The narrative interweaves Teddy's remembrances of living with Sylvan with the present adventure. The three converse (Sylvan was right about that), and themes of being left and being rescued are explored as Teddy explains how Sylvan died and the children explain how they ended up alone outside in the blizzard. Thrumming throughout is the children's unexpressed worry of what will happen to Teddy when their parents retrieve them. This is resolved in the best way possible and could, in the hands of a less refined writer, have become pat. MacLachlan's treatment, however, is magical. A quiet, elegant, poignant story suffused with humor, heart, and goodness. (Fantasy. 6-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2016

    Gr 3-5-Nikel and his sister Flora are caught in a blizzard. Left in a car by their mother, who went to get help and did not return, they are saved by Teddy; it's a heroic act for a human but all the more impressive for a dog. Teddy was once rescued himself, taken from a shelter by a poet named Sylvan, who surrounded him with words and read him Shakespeare, James Joyce, and C.S. Lewis, as well as his favorite book, Donald Hall's Ox-Cart Man. Though Teddy comprehends words, only poets and children can understand the canine. Nikel, Flora, and Teddy spend several days together at the dog's cabin while the blizzard rages on, and Teddy tells the children about his life with Sylvan and how Sylvan recently passed away. Similar in length to a beginning reader, the novel has sophisticated vocabulary and sensitive subject matter that make it better suited for mature young readers; it would also work as a classroom or one-on-one read aloud. MacLachlan writes with a quiet cadence readers will savor, as the book alternates between the present and Teddy's life with Sylvan, with italics alerting readers to the shift in time. VERDICT Though this contemplative fantasy explores grief, it is also about overcoming loss and is resolved in a way that will comfort sensitive readers. A strong purchase for larger fiction collections.-Juliet Morefield, Multnomah County Library, OR

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Praise for THE POET'S DOG:"Magical. A quiet, elegant, poignant story suffused with humor, heart, and goodness."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A spare, moving tale. Using simple words that even youngest readers will understand and enjoy, MacLachlan tackles subjects such as death and mourning with understated grace."
  • Booklist (starred review) "Readers will find their own jewel in this gem of a book."
  • School Library Journal "Though this contemplative fantasy explores grief, it is also about overcoming loss and is resolved in a way that will comfort sensitive readers. A strong purchase for larger fiction collections."
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books "Dog-lovers and budding poets with a taste for quiet whimsy, or fans of MacLachlan's measured and lyrical writing, may want to check this out."
  • Jo Knowles, author of See You At Harry's "A tender story of love and grief, The Poet's Dog perfectly illustrates how special friends can heal a broken heart."
  • Laura Resau, author of The Lightning Queen and Star in the Forest "This enchanting tale of friendship-of the canine and poetic kind— will warm your heart like a firelit cabin on a snowy night. I loved it!"
  • Emily Jenkins, author of Toys Go Out and coauthor of Upside-Down MagicEmily Jenkins, author of Toys Go Out and coauthor of Upside-Down Magic "A master storyteller in gorgeous form. The Poet's Dog is a joy from page one."
  • Leslie Connor, author of Waiting for Normal and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook "An evocative gem, laced with the power to nurture every reader's inner poet."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) Praise for THE TRUTH OF ME:"Brief but emotionally intense...MacLachlan demonstrates her mastery of elegantly unfolding a tale and gently plucking at readers' heartstrings without taking a maudlin tone."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) Praise for KINDRED SOULS:"MacLachlan handles a familiar theme with grace, providing a lens into an uncanny intergenerational bond, as well as the kindness and generosity of love."
  • Booklist (starred review) Praise for WORD AFTER WORD AFTER WORD: "Showing great respect for her readers and her craft, Newbery Award winner Patricia MacLachlan makes every word count in Lucy's smooth-flowing, economic narrative."

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