Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Poet's Dog” as Want to Read:
The Poet's Dog
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Poet's Dog

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,268 ratings  ·  538 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, 112 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Poet's Dog, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Poet's Dog

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,268 ratings  ·  538 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Alternate title: How to Cry in 90 Pages or Less
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it

This very brief book is narrated by Teddy, who is an Irish Wolfhound. He knows words because he was rescued by and lived in a cozy cabin in the woods with a poet named Sylvan. While Teddy can speak words, only poets and children can understand him. On a freezing, snowy night, Teddy comes across twelve year-old Nickel (Nicholas) and his eight year-old sister Flora shivering near an icy pond. They had been riding with their mother in a car, which got stuck in the snow. Their mother left them to
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
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.
Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Dogs speak words
But only poets
And children

I found this while browsing in the library and was instantly intrigued by the cover (and *dogs*). I was happy to discover it was written by the author of Sarah, Plain, and Tall , which third-grade me loved.

The Poet’s Dog is a gem of a book. Told from a dog’s point-of-view, it’s a tale love, death, and family. There are snowed-in nights in a cabin, a talking dog with a gentle soul, and poetry.

I would have loved this book as a kid and I love it
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!
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.
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.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite friends was visiting last week and I was very excited because I was meeting her after many years. Time flew by after she arrived and before we knew we were at the airport, saying goodbye. I didn't want to go home after that as I felt it would be too depressing, and so to cheer myself up, I went to the bookshop instead. What is the point of going to the bookshop if we don't buy a book? 😁 This one, 'The Poet's Dog' by Patricia MacLachlan caught my eye first and I couldn't resis ...more
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
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.
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.
Kylie Hart
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
Darlene Foster
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this wonderful book 6 stars. Lost children, a rescue dog, a poet, all ingredients of a fine story written by an accomplished author. I especially loved that the story is told from the dogs point of view. Kids will gobble this book up and read it over and over. That is if they can get it away from the adults. like Patricia MacLachlans Sarah Plain and Tall, this book is timeless and will be read by many generations of readers. ...more
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
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
A lovely story that says so much about love/friendship and kindness in so few words. And the main character and narrator is a dog. Perfect.
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs
  • Applesauce Weather
  • Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker
  • A Poem for Peter
  • A Snake in the Grass (Jesse James Dawson, #4)
  • Full of Beans
  • Piper Green and the Fairy Tree (Piper Green, #1)
  • Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems
  • The Islander
  • A Boy Called Bat (A Boy Called Bat, #1)
  • Ms. Bixby's Last Day
  • Zorro Gets an Outfit
  • Pug and Other Animal Poems
  • The Rough Patch
  • Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen
  • Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship
  • The Bus Ride
  • Daniel Finds a Poem
See similar books…
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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Poets and children," said Sylvan. "We are the same really. When you can't find a poet, find a child. Remember that.” 2 likes
“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]”
More quotes…