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The Poet's Dog

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,907 Ratings  ·  452 Reviews
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.

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 hi
ebook, 96 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
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(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Alternate title: How to Cry in 90 Pages or Less
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
I forgot to mark this one as read because finishing it was not a tremendously memorable event. The cover is gorgeous but there is something about the story that felt a bit off to me. I found it somewhat confusing as a read aloud book because it jumped around to tell the story in an attempt to slowly reveal plot details. Good but not amazing.
A charming little fable about children, lost during a snowstorm, who are taken in by a dog. Because, you see, children and poets can understand dogs when they speak, and so Teddy and Nickel and Flora wait out the storm, eating delicious things cooked by little Flora, and hearing stories from Teddy about his person, the poet Sylvan. A wonderful winter book!
Carrie Bresnehen
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sweet story about words and the value they have in our lives. Beautiful writing, reminding us of the beauty in a bond with a dog.
Laura Harrison
Sep 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I have been a fan of Patricia MacLachlan's for many, many years. I truly love her. Unfortunately, publishing this title as is does not do MacLachlan any favor. It is an extremely short volume. Generally that would not be much a problem. However, there is just too much of everything left out. Even a reader with the best imagination would have difficulty trying to flesh out the tale. Several pages were emotional and magical. The best a children's author could hope to achieve. In a way it only make ...more
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, dogs
A moving story about life and death and what lives on. The Poet's Dog is Teddy, an Irish Wolfhound, and he is the thread that connects the past and the present. Through him, the love of his former owner, Sylvan, who gave him words, and taught him to save others, lives on. A slim and meditative book about love and caring for others during hardship.
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another poignant book by Patricia MacLachlan. Pure pleasure to read with a sweetness of a talking dog, a snow storm and two beautiful children.
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was stunning. I loved it. This book takes what you know a story like this to be like, but then flips it around and tells it to you from the perspective of a talking dog. I cried, but it was beautiful and moving. So many wonderful things I could say about this book.
May 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is quite...slight. I'm sure a certain type of person would find it profound and beautiful, but that person is emphatically not me.
Kylie Hart
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Four-and-a-half. Almost five. A beautiful story narrated by Teddy, a dog. Teddy lived with a poet-teacher in a cabin in the woods until the poet died. He taught Teddy that poets and children understand the language of dogs...and Teddy sees it play out with the poet's students...some can hear him and understand. Most cannot, because they are not poets.

After the poet's death, Teddy lives in the cabin, with the help of another poet who visits and keeps things running. But one night, during a huge s
C.J. Milbrandt
Two children stranded in a snowstorm are found by a dog, who is able to lead them to shelter. A gentle, wistful, lyrical short story, from the point of view of the dog. Mixing the present with flashbacks of life with the poet. A little sad, but everything comes full circle in a lovely way.
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually am fond of this genre but this one didn't do for me, I couldn't connect.
Aug 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Let me preface my review by stating that as a middle school teacher, I usually read books through the dual lenses of what I think and what I think my readers will think. There are some books where what I think, what my readers think, and what younger readers think is similar. This book.... I can't tell yet.

It's about a talking dog who rescues two children from the harm of a storm. (There is a device for the talking dog ... the talking dog belonged to a poet who read out loud to him and learned t
Laura Harrison
I have to start this review by saying I love Patricia MacLachlan. I truly do. Publishing this title as is I don't think did the author any favors nor will win her a new audience. It is an inexplicably short book. There is generally nothing wrong with that but more of everything needed to be told. A reader can have the best imagination possible but there is just too much left out. There are a few incredibly beautiful, emotional pages. I ultimately walked away feeling "Is that it?" It seemed more ...more
A very quick read (a short story of 88 pages), MacLachlan's story is precise, warm as much as it is cold, yet uplifting. When two children find themselves alone in the forest after their family car veers off the snow-thick road, they are rescued by a talking dog (at least, he can be heard by children and poets). Whilst the storm rages, he becomes their guardian and it is during this time, the three of them learn about the power of words over lives and the nature of the human (and canine) spirit. ...more
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, childrens
What a beautiful little story. (*little-it's very short and I read the whole thing in about 20 minutes. That did not lessen my delight with it.) Is it a bit of magical realism? Whimsy? This is the kind of story that speaks to me. She says the dog can talk to the poet? OK, then I believe it. The dog is able to talk to the children and they can all survive in a little cabin? I'm on board. I think what I really liked about this was that the focus was fully on the dog-his love for and grief for his ...more
Bon Tom
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Didn't quite get this one, have to admit. Maybe I'm a bit tarded so more words are needed to get things into my head. But enjoyed the atmosphere.
Suze Lavender
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Teddy was raised by Sylvan, a poet. According to Sylvan children and poets can hear Teddy. Teddy is a gifted dog. He understands words and is delighted when people are able to listen to him. When grown ups know they can talk with Teddy they are poets. Sylvan used to read to Teddy, but the house they lived in is empty now. When Teddy finds Nickel and Flora, two children trapped in a snowstorm, it's handy he can communicate with them. He brings them to Sylvan's home to keep them safe.

Nickel, Flora
Brenda Kahn
I so wanted to like this more than I did. I adore MacLachlan's understated, lovely writing. I liked this but could not suspend enough belief to love it. I am sure my students, especially sensitive, dog-loving tweens will love it.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing

For those who know me personally and for those who only know me virtually my love of dogs is apparent to all. When I say I love dogs, I mean there has never been a human being as wonderful as any of my four dogs. If I should meet a human who surpasses the pure generosity, compassion, loyalty, love and joy of a dog, then surely there is reincarnation. A dog must have been sent back in the form of a human to show us how to better live our lives.

Even before I read the first page of the first chapte
Linda Lipko
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm never disappointed by the books of Maclachlan. She writes with depth of feeling and wonderment that lasts after the book is finished.

An Irish Wolfhound who was previously rescued by her poet owner Sylvan, finds two children in the snow. As the sleet and gusting winds pound them, the dog walks them to safety.

As the power flickers off and on, and the snow pelts the windows, all is calm and cozy in the cabin. In grief, Teddy the dog misses his owner who died. In hope, the children long to know
Meag McKeron
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juv-fiction
It had its moments of beautiful prose, but overall I just didn't get it. These kids (ages 8 and 12) are left alone in a car during a blizzard by their mother, then left alone again by someone who happens upon their car, and then later an adult who comes by the cabin they found shelter in leaves them alone again (after they've been missing for many days) to go home and call their parents. She even mentions that their story was on the news but their parents weren't worried. WHAT?! Everyone besides ...more
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this read aloud with my kids. It's a heart warming story of love & devotion between a dog and his owner. It has the best elements of sacrifice, friendship, redemption out of tragedy and perseverance in hardship.
Laura Resau
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A blizzard, two lost children, a dog in mourning, and a warm cabin in the woods where a special friendship is born… these elements come together beautifully in MacLachlan’s heartfelt and magical tale.
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awhh, reading to my bunny is now validated!
Andrea Schreiber
I didn't know how much I needed this book until I finished reading it. It made my 2016 a little bit brighter and renewed my love of reading. Thank you, Patricia MacLachlan!
6 star book

Put this on the shelf next to "Sarah Plain and Tall," "Ivan," and "Dance in the Desert."

Only poets and children can understand the language of dogs. A poet's dog recuses two children in a snow storm and they all learn about love and life. i was weeping at the end of the book.

"And he (the poet) read to me. He read Yeats and Shakespeare, James Joyce, Wordsworth, Natalie Babbitt, and Billy Collins. He read me Charlotte's Web, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Morning Girl and my favo
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Any book that includes a narrating dog, I'm all in. This is a sweet story with the theme rescue is love. It's a book geared for children under 12, so that may account for the minimal character development, but I'm grateful there's no tragic lesson on loss, as many dog stories go. Overall, I'm excited to read this to my son one day.
Ellie Terry
So touching and sweet!
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Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and to this day carries a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she goes to remind her of what she knew first. She is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb's Story; and Three Names, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lives in western Massach ...more
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“In Moonlight
Soft sweet paw on my cheek
Fur curled under my chin
A sad space left behind -
Gray cat gone away.

[Ellie's poem]”
“Poets and children," said Sylvan. "We are the same really. When you can't find a poet, find a child. Remember that.” 1 likes
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