My imaginary friend was a comfort during my early childhood night terrors. Jackson thinks he is too old for imaginary friends, but ‘Crenshaw ‘insists he’s returned because Jackson has summoned him. He only returns when he is needed. Although Jackson needs help, how can an oversized, bubble-bathing, unwieldy, imaginary giant cat assist? Although Jackson’s family’s circumstances are grim, his parents seem in denial. We realise that while they are averse to facing the truth, Jackson is frozen by fear of the future and memories of their past.
Having read and loved Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan, I was compelled to read ‘Crenshaw‘. Katherine Applegate handles imaginary friends, and the weighty theme of poverty respectfully, so that there is no desperate ‘message waving’ evident, just a meaningful reality.
‘Crenshaw’ is warm, honest, reassuring and highly recommended as a story that stays in your head and heart. I am overjoyed to have discovered Katherine Applegate’s quality children’s books.