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December 07, 2015



By: Katherine Applegate, Newberry Award Winner

“I noticed several weird things about the surfboarding cat.”  With this great first line you’d never know this story covers such a serious topic. “Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?”

This short book talks about an issue that many children are facing today, poverty. Many kids in this country do not know where their next meal is coming from, if they will stay at the same school as last year, or even where they will fall asleep at night. With the downturn of the economy, a lot of families had to make cutbacks and that is what makes this story feel genuine.

Crenshaw covers how these types of situations are seen through a child’s eyes. Although his parents are not likely to admit it, Jackson does notice things and realizes that his parents are struggling to take care of him and his sister. Although there are other options, Jackson’s parents do not like taking handouts and refuse to rely on relatives to get back on their feet. When Jackson finally tells them how he feels about all of this, (with the guidance of Crenshaw), they realize that maybe being honest with their kids is really what is best for them.

Grades 4 and up

Review By: Allison Kartman