Crenshaw is the tale of a boy and his very large imaginary cat. Jackson and his family live in difficult circumstances. Crenshaw first appeared to Jackson when he was in 1st grade and his family became homeless after his dad was diagnosed with MS and lost his construction job and his Mom also lost her job as a music teacher. Life got back on track and they have an apartment with Jackson now in the 4th grade, but Crenshaw has started to appear again. Jackson also starts to notice that things are disappearing around the house. Jackson worries about the future of his family as well as ponders why Crenshaw appears.
I read this back and forth out loud with my 9-year old son Kile, with his 7-year old brother Daniel listening. Daniel got frustrated with Kile’s reading at one point and took the book himself and read it. Both boys are in the Kewaunee Public Library Youth Book club and will be discussing this book in a week and a half.
The boys thought the book was interesting, especially whenever Crenshaw was in the room. It was also eye opening for them as they’ve never thought about a kid like themselves as being homeless. This book also prompted discussion about medical care costs (the Dad with MS)
The kids loved a book they read for Youth book club last year by the same author, The One and Only Ivan. They didn’t experience that type of love for Crenshaw. It brought about good discussion points with the kids, but having never had an imaginary friend, they found that part confusing. They also found the flash backs to first grade confusing as well to try to keep straight if the timeline was current or a flashback.
Overall, the book was one that the kids thought was “good” but not nearly as enjoyable as The One and Only Ivan.
Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library – Thanks!