This week I was traveling and my digital copy of Crenshaw came in from the library. What a wonderful world we live in when you can be 250 miles away from your library and still pick up your book you have been waiting for. Yes, I will also walk up to the library today and pick up the other books that can’t fly through the air waves – I will read books anyway I can.
I had heard so much about Crenshaw and have really liked Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan so was really excited to download this story. I had been waiting since it first came out in September. I had tried getting an arc but that was a no go. With all this excitement I settled into read in my hotel room late in the evening after a long day working in an old garden and driving long hours.
Can you hear it in my writing – in all my excitement to read this book there was a but -it is that I was a bit disappointed. It is a good example of writing about social issue. It would be good for students to think about the issue of homelessness or in the case of my past classrooms to know there are others children who live like they do.
I liked the bit of magic with the adult sized cat although he did seem more like a real adult – a bit of a therapist to our main character. I was surprised when I got to the end. Not that it had a surprise ending just surprised because I felt the story was just getting started. I wanted more to happen. I am struggling to say what it is that makes me not fall in love with this book. Applegate has all the right elements in this story –
- a two lovable characters
- a social issue worth reading and knowing about – homelessness, imaginary friends
- a bit of magic
- issues to discuss but written with a light touch – not so dark you want to stay clear of the topic
- her writing is great for 3rd or 4th graders
I guess as I review it I am thinking I needed the topic to go deeper. In saying that I have to remember I am an adult. I was intrigued by the issue of the imaginary friend who is helping our character deal with the stress of losing one’s home and belongings. This story was just a bit to clean and neat for my adult self. When I was in third grade this might have been just right.