Review Blog

Jun 07 2016

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

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HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780007951185
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Crenshaw is a cat, a large black and white cat who just happens to be Jackson's imaginary friend. Jackson's family has gone through some problems in the past and, as he is about to start year 5, the problems return. Mum and Dad don't have enough money, belongings are being sold and the family might have to live in the family minivan for awhile. Crenshaw appears when Jackson needs a friend. Jackson doesn't need to keep secrets from Crenshaw because Crenshaw already knows. Crenshaw understands. It is this friendship that supports Jackson as the eldest child who wants to know the problems and not be kept in the dark. Crenshaw helps Jackson talk to friends so that he doesn't feel alone. Crenshaw helps Jackson talk to his parents. Maybe the family will be okay after all.
Crenshaw consists of 2 to 3 page chapters, making it fast moving but not allowing it to lose the descriptions needed to help readers connect with Jackson and his problems. It is an emotional story of friendship and heartbreak, of loving families and good things coming to good people. Children will connect with Jackson and his desire to be seen as old enough to handle the truth and the problems. Highly recommended for readers aged 9+, this book would make a great class novel, supporting students to understand the structure of imaginative texts as well as supporting them in writing about themselves. It would also be a great book for a parent to read to their child as some sensitive themes could be close to home for some children.
Kylie Kempster

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