Author: Katherine Applegate
Genre: Realistic Contemporary
Publication Date: April 10th 2008
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“I can see my imaginary friend. I can hear him. I can talk to him. He is using a towel.”
In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience. Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again. Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything? Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary. – Excerpt from Goodreads.
Crenshaw is the type of book that should be read in school. It reads simple but packs a punch and delivers a very important message. Crenshaw is about a young boy going through a very difficult time with his family. His family has hit a real low with their fiances and they find themselves having to sell their belongings just to be able to eat most nights. They’ve also been reduced to sleeping in their cars and endlessly moving (due to failing to pay their rent). It doesn’t help that his father is quite ill and can’t be reliable to keep employment due to his circumstances.
The young boy creates an imaginary friend, Crenshaw, to deal with everything that is going on in his life that just feels too overwhelming. The large imaginary cat is there to talk him, play with him and just plain be there for him. The boy tries to fight the idea of needing this large cat in his life because he only deals in facts, not imagination and other such nonsense. He doesn’t want to be a child, he has just been through too much to allow himself to be a carefree child now. Throughout the tough times this boy goes through with his family, he realizes just how much he does need certain child-like fantasies in his life.
Beautiful book and one that older children will easily be able to relate to. I especially like that it has a message but it’s not preachy or pretentious. Highly recommend checking this one out. It would be great for opening up some interesting discussions with kids about poverty, family, and grief.