cover image Crenshaw


Katherine Applegate. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-04323-8

Although he is “not an imaginary friend kind of guy,” rising fifth-grader Jackson recognizes Crenshaw immediately. The cat, who walks on two legs and likes purple jellybeans, first appeared to Jackson three years ago when his family was living in their van. Although life has been stable since then, Jackson notices “Big piles of bills. Parents whispering. Parents arguing. Stuff getting sold.” When he asks his parents if they have “a plan for making everything okay,” they respond with evasive answers like “maybe they could plant a money tree in the back yard.” Newbery Medalist Applegate (The One and Only Ivan) poignantly conveys Jackson’s memory of hunger and homelessness and his realization that both threaten his family again. Certain that he has outgrown Crenshaw, Jackson feels both dismay and wonder that his friend has returned, with his playful, attention-getting antics (taking bubble baths, doing cartwheels and handstands) and thought-provoking answers to Jackson’s questions. This accessible and moving novel demonstrates how the creative resilience of a child’s mind can soften difficult situations, while exploring the intersection of imagination and truth. Ages 10–14. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Sept.)