Saturday, November 12, 2016

Book Review: Crenshaw

Katherine Applegate
Read by Kirby Heyborne
Listening Library, Audible, 2015
Genre: Children's, Realistic, Family
Stars: 3.5 out of 5

In this story about a family who has fallen on hard times, we meet Jackson. Jackson knows what it's like to move suddenly from your house and not be sure where you'll live next. He knows what it's like to live in a car, and he doesn't want to go back to that again. But when things start to go wrong for his family, he fears it's about to happen again. That's when Crenshaw reappears. Jackson met Crenshaw last when they were leaving their home the first time to live out of their van. And now he's back. Crenshaw is a cat who talks and prefers purple jelly beans. Jackson is mortified and just wants him to go away. But there are more important things on his mind right now and maybe, just maybe, this imaginary friend can help. 

Jackson is smart. He's incredibly smart and knows a lot about animals especially.  He's also observant and realizes what's going on before his parents realize he knows. Crenshaw is another source of anxiety for him as he worries whether people can see him or not. But the more he talks to Crenshaw, the more things become clear to him. 

This is a heartbreaking story. It's deals with a part of life that many kids struggle with on a regular basis and that adults have a hard time addressing. This story could allow readers to understand themselves, their friends, or their world better. Kids need to know they aren't alone in the world. Crenshaw (both the book itself and the imaginary cat) can help lead kids through a dark time. I hope every kid has his or own imaginary friend who will help them. 

It needs to be said that the audio book is wonderfully performed by Kirby Heyborne. He is particularly good when it comes to the voice of Crenshaw, bringing the cat to life for the reader. 

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