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Author: Applegate, Katherine
A story about a homeless boy and his imaginary friend that proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.80
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 176562
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 67066
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/15)
School Library Journal (+) (08/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/12/15)
The Hornbook (+) (00/09/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2015 Gr 4–6—In her first novel since the Newbery-winning The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins, 2012), Applegate tells the story of a 10-year-old boy whose imaginary friend helps him cope with a family crisis. Jackson, his parents, and his five-year-old sister once again are staring down the barrel of an impending eviction notice. What frustrates Jackson isn't just the lack of money: it's his artistically minded parents' tendency to gloss over their woes with humor and cheer rather than acknowledging the reality of their situation. It's understandably a shock to Jackson when an old friend reappears: Crenshaw, a seven-foot-tall talking cat, who first came into his life several years ago when the boy and his family were living out of their car shortly after his father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Skeptical Jackson tries to dismiss Crenshaw as a figment of his imagination, but the cat's words of wisdom start to resonate with him. Employing sparse but elegant prose, Applegate has crafted an authentic protagonist whose self-possession and maturity conceal relatable vulnerability and fears. While sardonic Crenshaw may not be the warm and cuddly imaginary friend readers are expecting, he's the companion that Jackson truly needs as he begins to realize that he doesn't need to carry the weight of the world upon his shoulders. Though the ending wraps up a shade too neatly, overall, children will appreciate this heartbreaking novel. VERDICT A compelling and unflinchingly honest treatment of a difficult topic.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/01/2015 Soon-to-be fifth-grader Jackson goes for facts and science—things that are real and true—and having a giant, talking cat around doesn’t fit the bill. It has been years since his imaginary feline friend Crenshaw was on the scene, and Jackson can’t figure out why he is back or how to make him go away. It soon becomes apparent that all is not well in Jackson’s home. Though he has a loving family, money is tight. Jackson can’t help remembering back to when they had to live in a minivan—that was when he first met Crenshaw—and he fears that might happen once again. Newbery winner Applegate (The One and Only Ivan, 2012) uses gentle humor, embodied by Crenshaw, to explore the topic of homelessness. Jackson’s anxiety is central to the narrative, and his concerns will resonate with readers who have been in stressful situations. Though the story is weighty, it is a quick read that encourages people of all ages to be honest with one another and value family and friends (real and imaginary!). - Copyright 2015 Booklist.