Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech


Sequel. HarperCollins (September 2008) Library
Hate That Cat continues the story of Jack from Love That Dog. It is a new school year, and Jack learns that his previous year's teacher, Miss Stretchberry, has also moved up a grade along with him. "You understand my brain," he says.  Once again, Miss Stretchberry introduces Jack and his classmates to poems that intrigue and entice, allowing Jack to talk about things that are on his mind: mean cats, sound, silence, worry, and joy. You don't really think Miss Stretchberry  is going to let Jack hate a cat, do you? Hmm.    

 



First of all I did not know this was a sequel. The original summary is just talking about the main character, Jack, and what the story is going to be about in verse. You do get something ruined for you... If you want to read this book I recommend you read Love That Dog first.

I'm very happy I am finally writing a review on a verse book. It's been a while. I have never read a verse book for kids so this was a first for me. At first Jack talks about how he's in a new grade but with the same teacher and how this big mean cat is annoying him to no end. He even declares that he hates that cat. The story is told through journal and you get the sense that the teacher, Miss Stretchberry, is responding to what he says in the journal in two different ways: 

1) She talks to him during class about his journal entry and he in turn writes a response to their talk in the journal.

2) She basically makes her whole lesson plan for his benefit.

She literally assigns every poem they discuss in the book about cats. I didn't realize how unrealistic that was until now. But, it's really not that big of a deal. The story is about Jack and cats so it wouldn't make sense for the author to deter from that theme. Also, I'm probably exaggerating. There were lots of poems that were regular poems that he transformed and made his own.

At first the verse was hard to get into. I forgot how weird and spacey it could be. A lot of how Jack wrote was very boyish and fast. It took a while but I started letting go and enjoying what poems Jack came up with. Jack would respond to the poems presented in class. The ones he made were basically almost all about cats or dogs. At the end you were shown the poems he took ideas from or the beat from to make his own. Some of my inspiration poem favorites are:

The Red Wheelbarrow
by William Carlos Williams

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

This is Just to Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which 
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

I guess I like William Carlos Williams work. This book has kind of made me want to adventure to find more poets and poems out there that entertain me or otherwise fill me with some type of emotion. And that's what this book is all about and should be all about.

Overall: Took a while to get into but I did enjoy the poems Jack created and the poems they were inspired from. I feel like children will enjoy this much more. It's a great way for them to discover verse.

For more info about Sharon Creech you can visit her at her website where you can find excerpts on all her books.

3 comments:

  1. After discussing imagism and these poems by Williams Carlos Williams I must say that I'm really curious about this book. I'm not really fond of this movement but we can say that I liked WCW poems.
    This one sounds really good even though it took you some time to get into the story. Great review :)

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  2. I have both books in this series, but haven't started them yet. Good to know that I should read this one second. I really enjoy Sharon Creech, but none of the books I have read by her have been told in verse. I will have to read these to see what they are like. Loved your honest review!

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  3. I loved this book. Yes, the spacing takes a bit of getting used to but it also makes poetry accessible to children and it demystifies poetry too. Thanks for the review!

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