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Publisher's Summary

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent, and not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

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?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

©2015 Katherine Applegate (P)2015 Listening Library

What listeners say about Crenshaw

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great story

loved it! great story, kids would love this book for sure. definitely would read again

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Well read but boring

I read this book to see if it would be a good read for my classroom. The story is very specific to help kids going through a hard time but it was quite serious and boring. Maybe good for an independent read but not a read allowed. Story felt uneventful.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-07-21

Life Circumstances are Different for Every Family

Provided great insight for my 11 year olds that children are subject to difficult life circumstances that they could never imagine. I want them to realize how lucky they are and to be compassionate and ready to serve those who may be struggling.

17 people found this helpful

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  • DLB Oregon
  • 2016-07-10

Very good.

I am 10 years old. I thought it was good, very good, but not the absolute best. Too short! I thought Crenshaw was funny.

14 people found this helpful

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  • J. Emblen
  • 2016-04-22

most depressing story... not for family road trip

I wanted to like this story. It was played on a road trip. By far it was thee most depressing story to listen to while on a road trip. We tried to be thankful for our situation and grab to any positive morsels but at the end, I found this book the worst book to listen or read. Specially while on an adventurous road trip. The next stop to witness a homeless person begging for money was ever so much depressing and the next and the next over many cities across the country. It didn't inspire compassion nor admiration or respect. It was just a sad story about people making wrong decisions that gravelly affected their children. True to human nature, a sad example that at the end I found myself not wanting to be in a giving and helpful way. Because I have children and I have and will do my best not to fall into that predicament, because I know of parents that by their own ego, stupidity, lack of judgements have forced their children into homelessness. A topic that is way too serious for children attracted by a giant imaginary cat "friend" who is powerless to help at all.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Sheila
  • 2015-11-01

Enjoy the magic while you can!

"You weren't this big when I was seven." "You need a bigger friend now," said Crenshaw.

Humor, imagination, friendship, and a little magic combine to create a marvelous story of coping with real-life fears. Jackson's imaginary friend, Crenshaw, first appeared years ago when Jackson's family was homeless. Now Crenshaw shows up again just as Jackson is seeing worrisome signs: bills piling up, not enough work for his parents, and food is in short supply. Does this mean Jackson's family will be homeless again?

If you've ever had or wanted an imaginary friend, if you've ever needed to cope with something beyond your control, if you've ever struggled to be true to yourself in adversity, you'll love Crenshaw. I'm delighted with how this story deals with a tough topic with such gentleness and humor. I haven't been this thrilled with a children's book since Stellaluna or Harry Potter.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Rolanda Grant
  • 2019-05-22

Great for preteen boys

My struggling preteen son loved it and asked for more. he even asked me to pause it do it could continue as we got out if the car. we are struggling through a divorce and this book said words to him that he didn't want to hear from me.

12 people found this helpful

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  • The Owl
  • 2018-10-03

Great book and performance!

What a great little book! I had seen this book around and thought it looked interesting. When it appeared on the Maud Hart Lovelace list, I knew it was time to read it. Well in this case - to listen to it. I'm very glad that I did. It's the story of a young boy whose family is facing being homeless again. To help him cope with this his imaginary friend reappears - Crenshaw. I loved Crenshaw. He made me laugh, he made me cry a little and he gave hope. He appears to help Jackson "tell the truth". As the reader and an adult, I pretty much knew the truth he needed to admit to, but watch Jackson learn this himself was so well done. I can see kids gain the understanding that Jackson gains. I can also see kids learning about being homeless and what that means. That is the true heart of this book - helping kids learn about homelessness. It's not the image they might have. People who are homeless might look just like students they sit next to in class. What a strong understanding to gain. This book handles the fact of being homeless in a perfect way for kids because it shows them how it doesn't happen all of a sudden. And it doesn't happen because you are a "bad" person. We talk so much about books needing to be mirrors and windows. This is strong as both. For the kids in my school it would be a window into a world they don't know a lot about. But it would be such a great mirror for kids in the same place as Jackson's family. Well done.

Thoughts on the audiobook: I really enjoyed the audiobooks. The narrator did a fantastic job bringing Crenshaw to life! That was the strongest part of the reading for me!

Final Thoughts: Loved it. So glad I finally read it.
Thoughts on the library: Yes! for the reasons I talked about above.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica Akers
  • 2016-10-16

Awsome

I love Crenshaw it tell me I was old but I could still believe in the magic for a long time.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Marie
  • 2016-08-27

Llif Happens

This book was wonderful! So many people don't understand how it feels to be so poor a person lives in a car or on the street. How many people go to bed hungry. How hard it is for a parent that cannot provide for their children. This book really puts it into perspective. I think people will be less judgemental after reading this book.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Todd
  • 2017-01-21

Sad but valuable

What did you like best about this story?

It is okay to be sad. It is okay to be honest with kids. Applegate does a great job bringing you into Jackson as a character.

7 people found this helpful

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  • rj n
  • 2016-11-20

Well written story but very depressing

This was recommended by audible. What a downer. The story was well written just not a genre I enjoy.

7 people found this helpful