Imaginary Friends Are Forever

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Crenshaw tells the story of a boy named Jackson who’s family is going through some hard times financially. Jackson is a realist, he doesn’t believe in magic, he believes in the facts.

Crenshaw tells the story of a boy named Jackson who’s family is going through some hard times financially. Jackson is a realist, he doesn’t believe in magic, he believes in the facts. But whether he knows it or not, he might just need a little magic to get him through these hard times.

 Crenshaw, a giant cat, was Jackson’s imaginary friend from when he was much younger. Now, as a fifth grader, Jackson doesn’t believe anything like that is real. “There is always a logical explanation” as he often tells himself. Katherine Applegate develops Jackson’s character by repeating over and over that he only believes in the facts, which makes his character more understandable and realistic to the audience.

 Jackson is tired of being poor, not knowing when he’ll eat next, not knowing if his family will be able to pay their rent this month, not knowing if his little sister will ever know what’s going on. He is mad at his parents for not telling him what’s happening to them, and is very upset in general. Jackson doesn’t say his feelings out loud, he bottles them up in his mind, which makes the reader sympathize with Jackson, who is unwilling to voice his feelings.

 Then, suddenly, Crenshaw returns. Jackson thinks he is going insane because no one else can see Crenshaw but him. He tells Crenshaw to leave, but Crenshaw remains, talking to him, and being there with him. Crenshaw insists that he needs to be with Jackson, but Jackson insists that he doesn’t, that he is just something made up dancing around in his head.
But then Jackson begins to realize that he may need Crenshaw more that he thinks.

Crenshaw is a heartwarming, tear-jerking, and subtly funny book that kids of all ages would enjoy. However, I believe that the target audience would be 9-11 year olds, as the general themes are for younger children. Crenshaw will open your heart and make you realize that imagination is more important than you might think.