Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech

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Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A gorgeous novel in free verse and a perfect introduction to poetry for any primary school child. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: November 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 0747595291

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You may remember how much Jack loved his dog in Sharon Creech's Carnegie medal winning Love That Dog. Over its succinct pages, he had come to terms with Sky's death, learned appreciate poetry and how to write some of his own. In Hate That Cat his literary journey continues as he begins to move on from his loss, aided by the wonderfully-named Miss Stretchberry. So we continue for another slim volume of free verse in which Jack's first question about every poet is, endearingly, is he alive?

It's lovely. Buy it. Must I say more?

It's lovely. Buy it. Rinse and repeat. There you go.

Creech has an admirable knack of making something sweet and pure and innocent and, dare I say it, inspirational, without ever approaching saccharine or didactic. Her pleasure in words infuses Miss Stretchberry, who infuses Jack, who infuses his mother and, I'm sure, every reader who picks up the book. She never labours a point either. Jack's grown in literary confidence since Love That Dog but he still lacks confidence in some ways. We see him gradually learn to risk loving his new pet kitten - so much depends upon/a black kitten/in a straw basket/under the Christmas tree - and to begin talking about his life with his mother, who is deaf. These sections are particularly moving. There's also a rather fearsome black cat - the one of the title - and Jack's reaction to him is hilarious.

Miss Stretchberry uses poems by Edgar Alan Poe, William Carlos Williams, TS Eliot, Valerie Worth, and Christopher Myers and through them, Creech introduces readers to more advanced aspects of poetry such as assonance, dissonance, alliteration and onomatopoeia. It's never a chore and always an inspiration. Jack emulates them in much of his work, but every so often he comes up with a wonderfully idiosyncratic poem all of his very own. The originals are all included at the end.

Hate That Cat is a fun and easy read. It's encouraging, thoughtful, sweet and kind. But it's also a perfect way to show children that the right word, well-chosen, is worth more than a chapter of waffle. I couldn't think of a better introduction to poetry for any primary school child.

My thanks to the nice people at Bloomsbury for sending the book.

There's similar sweetness without saccharine in Eggs by Jerry Spinelli and Someday Angeline by Louis Sachar.

Booklists.jpg Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech is in the Top Ten Quirky Kids' Books.
Buy Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech at Amazon.com.


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