Author: Katherine Applegate
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends: New York, NY
Awards: Capitol Choices 2016
Goodreads Choice Awards 2015, Middle Grades & Children’s
2016 NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Recommended Book
Amazon.com Best Books of the Year 2015, Ages 9–12
100 Notable Titles for Reading and Sharing 2015, Children’s Books
2016 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 6–8
2015 Cybils Awards Nomination, Elementary / Middle Grade Speculative Fiction
2016 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award, Middle Reader
Themes: Poverty, Imagination, Family, Effort, Truth, Friendship
Summary: Crenshaw, a cat who likes taking baths and purple jelly beans, appears when least expected. How did this imaginary friend come about? Why has he been reappearing? Can anyone else see him? Jackson is trying to make sense of his family, moving houses, and sleeping in a car. He is also trying to make sense of Crenshaw. Read to find out how they all correlate with each other.
Response: Describe one of the main characters. How did the author make this character unique and believable?
Jackson is a fifth grade boy who had an imaginary friend in the past who reappears at seemingly random times. He is having to mature rather quickly and is grasping the struggles happening in his family, meanwhile trying to protect his younger sister from really finding out. The boy has a trusting best friend and a deep sense about him. The author makes this character believable because his family situation in the midst of poverty and having difficulty paying monthly rent is realistic. Having that lack of stability does require an elementary aged boy to mature faster and be aware of life happenings. At the same time, the boy wants to have a childlike perspective and talks to his old imaginary friend, Crenshaw.