It's been seven years since Sharon Creech's book, Love That Dog, but I just discovered it a week ago. The sequel, Hate That Cat, just came out this year, and it didn't disappoint me.
Jack is a year older, but considers himself lucky to have Miss Stretchberry as his teacher for a second year. She's still making the class study poetry, pushing Jack to stretch himself. As the class reads poems by William Carlos Williams, T.S. Eliot, Edgar Allan Poe, and others, Jack reveals more about himself, and his life through his own poems.
Jack still mourns his dog, and professes to hate cats. Readers need to read the book to discover why Jack hates a stray black cat, and his feelings about kittens. But, the most touching part of the book is Jack's explorations of his feelings about his mother as he slowly reveals that his mother is deaf. It's hard for a boy who is learning to love poetry to realize his mother will never hear it.
Creech's books may have been written for middle school readers, but adults will appreciate the poetry, the humor, and the poignancy of these two books. If you've read Love That Dog, you have to check out Hate That Cat. If you haven't read either book, there's a treat waiting for you.
Sharon Creech's website is www.sharoncreech.com
Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech. HarperCollins Pubishers, ©2008. ISBN 9780061430923 (hardcover), 160p.