Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Published by Feiwel and Friends

Summary:  Jackson’s imaginary friend Crenshaw has come back.  The oversized cat was his companion four years ago when his family lost their home and was forced to live in their van for fourteen weeks.  When they finally were able to move into an apartment, Crenshaw disappeared.  Now Jackson’s parents are arguing about money again, planning a yard sale to sell almost all of their possessions.  When Crenshaw starts showing up again, surfing at the beach or taking a bubble bath, Jackson is taken back to the time his family was homeless.  He doesn’t know what to do, but he knows he can’t ever live in a van again.  Is it possible that his imaginary friend could be the key to helping him and his family?  Grades 4-6.

Pros:  A moving story of a close, loving family caught in difficult circumstances.  The short chapters keep the story moving quickly.  This would make a good selection for a book group or literature circle, as even younger kids would find interesting topics for discussion.

Cons:  I judged this book by its cover, and thought it would be a somewhat humorous story about a boy and his imaginary friend.  Although there was humor in it, it was a much more serious story than I anticipated.

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