The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan
The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan, is one of those books you wish you had never read so you could read it again for the first time! It is short and simply written.
The book begins with this quote: “Dogs speak words, but only poets and children hear.” The narrator is the poet’s (Sylvan’s) dog Teddy. Teddy was a stray, rescued by Sylvan. And Teddy in turn rescues a boy and girl who have become lost in the woods on a bitter, snowy day. He takes them home – and the children understand his words.
The children were left in their mother’s car when she went to find help after their car stalled in the storm. Teddy and the children weather the storm together, and through Teddy’s remembrances we learn of Sylvan’s work as a poet and teacher. When Sylvan died, it is his student, Ellie, who feeds and checks on Teddy – because Teddy could not leave their home, a cabin in the woods.
When the storm clears and Ellie comes, the children and Teddy wait for the parents to arrive. And the story ends there.
This is a thoughtful book, with little truths and little moments of poetry. MacLachlan is a writer of many children’s books – and winner of the Newberry Medal. Her books bear reading again and again. – Review by Jan Cravens, Youth Services Assistant