Dog Lovers and Book Lovers: “The Poet’s Dog”

As the holidays and winter are upon us, I am once again drawn to the best book.  Fall in love with a dog, a poet, and children- magnificently written.

“Dogs speak words.  But only poets and children hear.”

Those are the opening words in Patricia MacLachlan’s new book, The Poet’s Dog.  I have read the book twice, because there are many words not to be missed; words that are pure and don’t need added adjectives and text.  MacLachlan’s writing stands alone in a field of masterful literature.  Her eighty-eight pages are some of the best I have ever read.  In the words of the publisher:

“Alone in a fierce winter storm, Nickel and Flora are brave but afraid.  A dog finds them.  Teddy speaks words and brings them to shelter.  The Poet’s cabin has light and food and love.  But where is the poet?  Teddy will tell the story of how words make poems and connect to those who hear each other.”

Sylvan the poet constantly reads to Teddy.  He reads Yeats and Shakespeare.  He also reads Charlotte’s Web, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Ox Cart Man.  Teddy learns how words follow one another.

I had no idea that Ox Cart Man, one of my favorite children’s books, is actually a poem.  I scrambled to find my copy and read the words again, this time seeing the words for what they are meant to be – a poem.  When I read the book again to my preschoolers this month, it will be more beautiful than ever.

The Poet’s Dog is a story of adventure, survival, love and friendship, death, reading and poetry.  The beginning is a fishing line that hooks the reader, and the ocean opens to… well, you will have to read the book  The ending is as surprising as ever.

I told a friend and fellow teacher about The Poet’s Dog and quoted to her the first lines, “Dogs speak words.  But only poets and children hear.” Our conversation went something like this:

“I hear my cat.  I know what she’s saying.”

“Then you must be either a child or a poet.”

“I’m a child.  My heart is always a child.  And I love poetry.”

She smiled a knowing smile.  I did, too.


P.S. Dogs: Maddie, Ollie, Ani, Bailey and Lucy… and more – tell your human to read this book.

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Book Review, books, children's books, Dogs, Particia MacLachlan, Poetry, reading and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Dog Lovers and Book Lovers: “The Poet’s Dog”

  1. beetleypete says:

    Ollie says to tell you he will make sure I get a copy. I must have that inner child, as I am sure he speaks to me with no words.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Jennie Fitzkee shares a book that goes to the heart of any dog lover… The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan sounds like essential reading. #recommended

  3. Darlene says:

    This looks like a perfect book for a little one in my life. I believe I can hear my dog, Dot. But, like your friend, I am still very much a child.

  4. Sounds a beautiful Book Jennie.. 🙂 Have a wonderful Holiday my friend.. Happy Christmas xx

  5. Pingback: Dog Lovers/Book Lovers: “The Poet’s Dog” – The Militant Negro™

  6. dgkaye says:

    So beautiful Jennie. 🙂

  7. Sue Vincent says:

    My two-legs has been told. She can read it to me. Much love, Ani xx

  8. Sounds wonderful, Jennie. I’m a dog lover and sometimes poet. Thanks for sharing!

  9. srbottch says:

    Jennie, you have such a delicious way of describing books that I would almost like to eat them…after reading them, first. I so enjoy your posts. And I think I’m a kid, too.


  10. Tina Frisco says:

    Thank you for this lovely recommendation, Jennie. I’ll be sending it on to my sisters, nieces, and nephews. Happy Holidays, my friend ❤

  11. Dan Antion says:

    Maddie says the message has been delivered. I follow a number of poets and I do enjoy poetry, and I enjoy being with Maddie. I understand her sometimes.

    • Jennie says:

      Good thing! Thanks, Maddie. Your human is a great guy. Be patient because he works so hard to understand you. While the writer in the story is a poet, the story is not poetry. It is, well, everything.

  12. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Jennie writes another wonderful post!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Charles! You are the quintessential reader, thinker and philosopher. I can see you shaking your head reading these words, but it is true. I am asking you a favor to read this book. I want to know what you think of these 88 pages of literature. Best to you!

  13. I wish I could get my dog to read more… and bark less.

  14. pjlazos says:

    Can’t wait to read this book!

  15. Pingback: Dog Lovers and Book Lovers: “The Poet’s Dog” – Jennie Fitzkee | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  16. That sounds like the most magnificent story in the world. I always knew what my dog was saying and she always understood every word I said. People thought I was a bit eccentric, but it was true. I’m going to get the book, read it and then send it to a blogging friends for her grandchildren. I’ve given her all my good children’s books already as they love being read to by her or anyone. There is another by a Canadian author and blogger, I think, called Myrtle the Purple Turtle that I want to read and pass on as well. I so wish I’d had grandchildren so I wouldn’t feel so foolish buying children’s books and reading them. But read them I must. Hope you had a Merry Christmas and wishing you the very best New Year.

  17. Annika Perry says:

    Jennie, wow! To both your wonderful heartfelt and personal review but also this touching book full of adventure and spirit, capturing the magic of childhood. One I’d love to read…for myself! As long as the inner child is still within us, we’re blessed!

  18. Ritu says:

    This sounds like a wonderful book!!!

  19. Norah says:

    I’ve heard of this book before, either here or elsewhere (I’m inclined to think at Patricia Tilton’s). It sounds wonderful. Though I don’t have a four-legged friend to insist I read it, I think I surely must. Thanks for the reminder.

  20. I think we all HEAR them…and we only grow old when we stop LISTENING…

  21. macjam47 says:

    This sounds like a wonderful book for my young granddaughter. I remember reading Ox Cart Man to my sons. As an adult, I have never outgrown my love for children’s books.

    • Jennie says:

      Isn’t it wonderful to maintain our love for children’s books! This one is a winner, and one you should read first, ahead of your granddaughter. Ox Cart Man has been a favorite for decades, so it was exciting to read that it was part of The Poet’s Dog. Many thanks!

  22. Without even opening the front cover, I am enchanted both by its picture an the title. I must take a look. ta.

  23. Sounds like a great book. Would love to read it.

  24. I am going to read this! I seek out books and even TV shows and movies with dog characters. I enjoyed “Downward Dog” and wish it hadn’t been cancelled.

  25. srbottch says:

    I hear my wife talking to our dog, Daisy, during the day. It must be a two-way because they both seem to understand each other…perfectly!

  26. Yes! Wonderful book–I will have to get a copy. “Dogs speak words. But only poets and children hear.” Absolutely… this is true. Dogs speak–we just have to listen for it. And they are much wiser than we sometimes believe.

  27. I am a dog lover. My dog Lucy says, “Please buy the book and read it to me!”

  28. Lionelson N.Y. says:

    Makes me miss my little Gucci back home. I’m working in a different city now and I can’t bring her. So my folks are taking care of her there. Thank you for recommending this wonderful book!

  29. Pingback: Dog Lovers and Book Lovers: “The Poet’s Dog” — A Teacher’s Reflections – MobsterTiger

  30. YourLastDayOnEarth says:

    Wow this sounds like an amazing book!💛🐶💛

  31. mudpilewood says:

    As I have no grandchildren, I look forward to reading it myself.

  32. Thetop Five says:

    Nice blog, i like it, Great post. I really love dogs
    Did you know this random facts about dogs? You can see more on my blog thx on time

  33. Sister Whiskers says:

    Sounds great 😀

  34. This book sounds beautiful! Will for sure read!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s