Saturday, April 09, 2011

Poetry in the Classroom - Gone to the Dogs

It's the weekend and that means it is time for another thematic list. This week I'm tackling some doggone good poetry. (Sorry, I just couldn't help myself!) I promise I'll give equal time to cats in the next list, though you will find that a few of these titles include both dogs and cats. I'm starting not with a book, but a single poem by Valerie Worth, illustrated here by my son.

Good Dog, written by Maya Gottfried and illustrated by Robert Rahway Zakanitch, is a collection of free verse poems in which 16 breeds express their personalities.

It's About Dogs, written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Ted Rand, is a collection of more than 40 poems that pay tribute to man's best friend.
A Dazzling Display of Dogs, written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Michael Wertz, is a series of 34 concrete poems that illustrate a variety of dogs in a range of situations doing things like riding in the car, escaping from home, chasing their tails, and more.

Stella, Unleashed: Notes From the Doghouse, written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Paul Meisel, is a book of poems told from Stella's point of view. They cover topics as varied as her rescue from the pound, selecting a name, the family members, other pets, eating, sleeping, the dog park, and more.

Dogku, written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Tim Bowers, is the story of a stray dog told through a series of 17 haiku.

Dog Poems, written by Dave Crawley and illustrated by Tamara Petrosino, contains 24 rhyming poems that describe both a range of dog breeds as well as dog behaviors.

Once I Ate a Pie, written by Patricia Maclachlan and Emily Maclachlan Charest and illustrated by Katy Schneider, is a collection of poems in which dogs of all types tell us how they see the world. (Watch this video to hear some of the poems read aloud.)

I Didn't Do It, written by Patricia Maclachlan and Emily Maclachlan Charest and illustrated by Katy Schneider, is the follow-up to ONCE I ATE A PIE. In it a group of adorable puppies describe what they do and see.

Diamond Willow, written by Helen Frost, is a verse novel told in a series of diamond-shaped poems. The story follows Diamond Willow, a young girl living in the Alaska wilderness who convinces her parents to let her take their sled dogs to her grandparents' house. Along the way tragedy strikes and Willow must do whatever she can to help her dog Roxy survive.

The World According to Dog: Poems and Teen Voices, written by Joyce Sidman with photographs by Doug Mindell, contains poems in a variety of forms that explore the world of the dog. Interspersed throughout are essays about dogs written by teens.

Little Dog Poems, written by Kristine O'Connell George and illustrated by June Otani, contains 30 poems in which a young girl describes her little dog.

Little Dog and Duncan
, written by Kristine O'Connell George and illustrated by June Otani, is the follow-up to LITTLE DOG in which a very large dog named Duncan comes to visit little dog.

Raining Cats and Dogs, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by, is a collection of poems that can be read from both directions. Tired of poems about dogs? Flip the book over and read about cats. (This one's out of print, so check your local library for a copy.)

Bow Wow Meow Meow: It's Rhyming Cats and Dogs, written and illustrated by Douglas Florian - In this collection, Florian presents a series of 21 poems about domesticated and wild dogs and cats.

I Am the Dog I Am the Cat by Donald Hall - This free verse poem alternates between the voice of a rottweiler and the voice of a tabby cat.

Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry by Joyce Sidman - A dog and cat are trapped under a picnic table in a rainstorm. Since much of the verse forms the images on the page, readers will enjoy searching for the buried verses while reading the story.

Now that you are in a doggy frame of mind, here are some additional resources you may find helpful.
Have I missed a good dog book of poetry? Please let me know and I'll add it to this list.


  1. Tricia, thanks for sharing. My seven year old son loves dogs books. Can't wait to check some out. Also, I like how you added the fun dog fact websites at the end. What a great blog post!

  2. Nice art!

    Once I Ate a Pie is one of my favorite books of poetry to share with school groups. It gets the kids' attention every time.