For What It's Worth

Monday, September 5, 2016

review: the poet’s dog by Patricia maclachlan

28594336From 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 him there are only two kinds of people in the world who can hear Teddy speak: poets and children.

Then one day Teddy learns that Sylvan was right. When Teddy finds Nickel and Flora trapped in a snowstorm, he tells them that he will bring them home—and they understand him. The children are afraid of the howling wind, but not of Teddy’s words. They follow him to a cabin in the woods, where the dog used to live with Sylvan . . . only now his owner is gone.

As they hole up in the cabin for shelter, Teddy is flooded with memories of Sylvan. What will Teddy do when his new friends go home? Can they help one another find what they have lost? ~

Source: ARC provided by the publisher via ALA16


The Poet’s Dog is a short (at 96 pages - I read it in under an hour) but beautiful story about love and loss with a touch of magic.

Teddy, the dog, has lost his poet owner and lives alone, grieving, in their cabin in the woods. Until one day he finds two children stranded in a snowstorm and brings them home to keep them safe until the storm is over.

Teddy’s former owner, Sylvan, could hear Teddy speak and believed all true poets and children could. As Teddy passes the time with Nickel and Flora reminiscing about his past and falling in love with the children, he finds the strength to move on with his new family once they are rescued.

As most of you know, I’m an animal lover, so I adored this tale but my most recent canine addition (Fonzi) came to me several months ago after his owner passed away. I was a blubbering mess by the end of this book thinking of him and his previous owner (a good friend of mine) and their bond. But it was one of those happy/cathartic cries because Teddy's story does end on an uplifting note.

Very sweet  – highly recommend for both young and old readers.


  1. Yea.... I don' think so. I stayed away from this one b/c I knew I would be a mess. My malamute is formerly my cousin's dog whom I inherited when he passed. I think this one would would hit me pretty hard. Perhaps in time I would come to love this book. Will have to mark it for later.

    1. It has a very happy outcome but yeah - if it's personal for you you'll be a blubbering mess.

  2. Loving the cover but alas because of the blubbering factor I don't tend to do animal stories.

  3. Oh gosh, I'd probably cry reading this one too just thinking of my down dog! sounds lovely.

  4. Awwww... Fonzi and the rest of your pack is lucky to have you, Karen :)

  5. This sound so lovely and it's something I could read at bedtime with my daughter. She is 9 and reads plenty on her own, but I still love it when I read to her.