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Katherine Applegate

The heart-warming new story about family and friendships from Newbery Medal-winner Katherine Applegate.

Life is tough for ten-year-old Jackson. The landlord is often at the door, there’s not much food in the fridge and he’s worried that any day now the family will have to move out of their home. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken and he’s imaginary. He’s come back into Jackson’s life to help him but is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

A heart-warming story about family and friendships from Newbery medal winner Katherine Applegate.


At age 11 and in the thrall of science, Jackson feels far too old for his imaginary friend, Crenshaw the cat, who has started reappearing. Crenshaw is taking bubble baths, purring like a train and dispensing unwelcome advice. The last time Crenshaw was around, Jackson’s family had fallen on hard times and had to live in their car for three months. Now, Jackson is seriously worried that the family might end up in the car again. But Crenshaw insists he won’t leave until he has helped Jackson and his family, including his little sister Robin, whom Jackson tries to shield from the worst of their poverty.

On one level, this is a terribly sad story of a hardworking family struggling to make ends meet, but it is also a look at how kids develop resilience in difficult times. The relationship between Jackson and Crenshaw provides comic relief and the story is very sensitively handled. Katherine Applegate won the Newberry Medal for her last novel for this age group, The One and Only Ivan, and this story is also beautifully written, moving and occasionally funny. It’s suitable for readers aged 9 and up.

Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings Carlton.

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