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Bluestem Book of the Week!

2018 Bluestem Nominees!
Have you read any of the 2018 Bluestem Books?
20 books are nominated every year for the Bluestem Award, and they are displayed in the Youth Services Department.
Take a look at our staff review for this week’s featured book!

Title: Crenshaw
Author: Katherine Applegate
Lexile Level: 540L
Pages: 256
Crenshaw is a seven-foot tall, talking, imaginary cat. Ten-year-old Jackson recognizes him immediately when he turns up one evening, because Crenshaw had been his imaginary friend when he was five years old. Jackson, a good student who wants to become a scientist, believes in facts rather than make-believe, and Crenshaw’s return raises alarming questions for him: Isn’t he too old for an imaginary friend? Why is Crenshaw back? Why can’t he make the giant cat go away?

When Crenshaw had last visited, Jackson and his family were in a dire situation: his father had lost his job due to his multiple sclerosis, and the family had lost their home and were forced into homelessness, living in their minivan for several months. With both parents currently working a combination of part-time jobs, Jackson’s family is under financial stress again, facing eviction from their apartment, reduced to selling their belongings, and seemingly headed back to life in the minivan. Jackson is worried about a return to homelessness, and devastated at the prospect of leaving school and his best friend Marisol.

Even more difficult than their money problems, though, is the fact that Jackson’s parents, free-spirited musicians, gloss over their trouble with jokes, optimism and good intentions. They are long on hope and short on plans, and they don’t share the details of their situation with Jackson, who feels frustrated by their attempts to shield him from harsh reality.

Crenshaw is not a cuddly, comforting buddy, but rather a smart-aleck nuisance who nonetheless has some answers to Jackson’s questions that may help the whole family move forward. Despite its grim subject matter, this novel from Newbery Award winner Katherine Applegate offers a relatable, sympathetic main character, a loving family, humor, warmth, and a message about resilience and growth.

Reviewed By: Mary Donovan

Click Here for a List of all 20 Bluestem Nominees

Created by Jen Trotta on Aug 10th, 2017 @ 9:54 AM.
Updated on Oct 23rd, 2017 @ 10:54 AM.