Reviews for Hate That Cat

Booklist Reviews 2008 August #1
In a worthy companion piece to Love That Dog (2001), Creech employs observant sensitivity and spare verse to carve an indelible portrait of a boy who discovers the power of self-expression. Once again, Jack works on a poetry journal for Miss Stretchberry, now his fifth-grade teacher. He responds to her instruction with skepticism, all the while absorbing the depth of feeling in the poems she shares, sometimes in spite of himself. Creech is a master of negative space; though we see only Jack's side of their dialogue, we learn a great deal about the other figures in Jack's life. In Love That Dog, Jack's reluctant relationship with poetry mirrored his struggle to let go of a good friend. In this title, we see Jack's reluctance waning, and with it, the resolute protection of his feelings. Try as he might to hold them off, the lines of Miss Stretchberry's poems open a space in his heart just big enough to allow affection for a small black kitten, dotted with white, to find its way in. Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Narrator Jack (Love That Dog) continues to address Miss Stretchberry in free verse, exploring what makes a real poem. A kitten he gets for Christmas provides the book's dramatic tension when it disappears; Jack also reveals gradually that his mother is deaf. This volume extends Creech's attempt to make poetry something children can appreciate as part of daily life. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #6
In this follow-up to Love That Dog (rev. 11/01), narrator Jack has moved up a grade in school but has the same inordinately understanding teacher. Jack continues to address Miss Stretchberry in free verse in which he explores what makes a real poem and struggles with the more rigid definition his uncle Bill uses: "a poem has to rhyme / and have regular meter / and SYMBOLS and METAPHORS / and onomoto-something and / alliter-something." As in the first book, Jack reacts to the poems he's reading and emulates them, modeling poetry after Poe and Tennyson and along the way learning about onomatopoeia and alliteration. He comes to appreciate cats and gets a kitten for Christmas, which a little too conveniently provides the dramatic tension in the book when it disappears. Jack also reveals gradually that his mother is deaf. Creech includes the poems that inspire Jack at the end, along with some of Jack's original poems from Love That Dog and an excellent list of children's poetry books. Though lacking the freshness of the first book, Hate That Cat extends Creech's attempt to make poetry something that children can appreciate as part of daily life, and teachers will love using it in the classroom. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 September #1
Newbery Medalist Creech continues the story of budding poet Jack in this sequel that, as is often the case with sequels, never quite captures the magic of the initial volume, 2001's Love That Dog. Jack is starting a new school year, moving up to the next grade along with his perceptive teacher, Miss Stretchberry. As in its predecessor, Jack's poems respond to well-known works studied in class and to Miss Stretchberry's insightful comments. She encourages Jack to stretch in his writing and to continue to examine buried feelings about his dog and, this year, about his mother as well. The titular cat that Jack dislikes is a mean neighborhood cat, but he changes his mind about felines when he gets a kitten as a Christmas present. The growth in Jack's writing is evident as the year progresses, and he learns more about the elements of poetry (though some of his poems and responses veer off a little too far into Englishmajorland). Teachers will welcome both Jack's poems and Creech's embedded writing lessons. (appendix, bibliography) (Fiction/poetry. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 October

Gr 4-8-- In this worthy sequel to Love That Dog (HarperCollins, 2001), Jack is once again in Miss Stretchberry's class, developing his poetry composition skills and learning from the masters. His Uncle Bill disparages the free-verse form and mundane subjects, stressing the importance of metaphor, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and LARGE moments. But Jack works his way into these concepts by means of Miss S's introduction to the work of Edgar Allan Poe, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Valerie Worth, and Walter Dean and Chris Myers, and her constant encouragement of his own attempts. Jack, still healing from the loss of his dog, resists getting a new pet and despises an aloof neighborhood black cat with which he has an unpleasant run-in. He also grapples with putting into words his feelings about his mother, who is deaf, a fact that is slowly and deftly revealed in his poems. When the Christmas-present kitten he has learned to love disappears, Jack grieves anew, until the despised black cat saves the day. Once again, all of the poems are addressed to Miss Stretchberry, and Jack's growing excitement as he discovers the delights of sound ("Tintinnabulation! ") and expression is palpable. He also learns the poetry of silence as he and his mother communicate through sign language and tender gestures. The relevant poems are included at the end of the book, along with a hefty bibliography of "Books on the Class Poetry Shelf." Readers will be touched and inspired once more.--Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

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