Hate that cat by Sharon Creech
(Age 9+) Recommended. What a delight to read this reprint of the companion volume to Love that dog. Jack is once again in Miss Stretchberry's class, writing a poetry journal, while learning about the elements of poetry from poems by Edgar Allan Poe, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Valerie Worth, and Walter Dean and Chris Myers.
While Jack struggles with his Uncle Bill's caustic comments about free verse and learns about alliteration and onomatopoeia, the reader is drawn into his world through his wonderful descriptive poems about his dislike of cats, in particular the big black neighbourhood cat that is 'meaner than mean' and sneers at him. He is still recovering from the loss of his dog and knows no cat would ever compete. However, a Christmas present of a small black kitten which he names Skitter McKitter, makes him change his mind.
I particularly liked the way that I made connections with Jack's life and feelings through his poetry. Learning about his deaf mother as Jack wrote about sound and silence was particularly poignant. The book contains all the poems that Miss Stretchberry used as well as a long list of Books on the Class Poetry Shelf.
This is a joy to read as an individual and as a read aloud and would make a wonderful class introduction to poetry.