The Poet’s Dog

28594336by Patricia MacLachlan
Children’s Lit
4 of 5 stars

It would be nearly impossible to write a fictional dog I won’t love. Children and dogs are expected to tug our heartstrings–in fact, typically a protagonist’s humanity and morality is judged by how they relate to children and animals! They are so universally beloved, they can feel like a literary crutch. Yet this story portrays them as you’d expect in ways that do not feel full of exploitative sugar.

When Teddy the Irish Wolfhound finds two children alone in a snowstorm, he leads them back to his cabin. For most of his life, Teddy shared the cabin with Sylvan, a poet who taught him words. Only poets and children can understand Teddy’s words, but he doesn’t mind. As the children keep Teddy company and prepare food, Teddy thinks back on his time with Sylvan and wonders what his future will hold.

Just as children have a way of seeing truths with clarity adults don’t always possess, Teddy has equally moving insights about humans. This short book is full of good and bad poetry, and what things or events spur people into creating art (and how lying to yourself makes for bad art). Honestly the only little thing that kept pulling me from the story is that the only color mentioned is red–and dogs can’t really distinguish red…but this is probably something only I would care about!

This is a quick, cozy read for the winter! If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, The Poet’s Dog is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!


Similar reads:

  • The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell – Feo and her half-wild wolves must journey to St. Petersburg to save her mother. Naturally, things do not go entirely according to plan. See my review here.
  • Pax by Sara Pennypacker – The story of a boy and his fox who will do anything to reunite when the boy’s father and war separate them. See my review here.
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo – A brave little mouse teaches everyone he encounters about honor, love, light and dark as he pursues knighthood.
  • Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley – A tear-jerking and hilarious story detailing a lonely man’s relationship with his old dachshund. For any dog-lover. See my review here.
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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Not Quite Narwhal | To Live a Thousand Lives

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