Book review by Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Crenshaw Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 8+

Pitch-perfect story about boy and family facing hard times.

Parents say

age 8+

Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 8+

Based on 14 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 8+
I thought this book did a decent job of presenting economic hardship and the possibility of homelessness without romanticizing poverty, as some children's books do. My problem is with the title character. Crenshaw has only the barest skeleton of a personality and he is not particularly likable. He seemed almost irrelevant to the story when he should have been central. The excerpt quoted in the blur on the back goes has this exchange: "I can't leave until I help you. I don't make the rules" "Then who does?" "You do Jackson. You make the rules." Now, this sounds like great stuff, but... that was it. Most of Jackson's interactions with Crenshaw consist of him arguing over whether Crenshaw really exists, or just telling him to get lost. We don't see any internal struggle on Jackson's part over what the rules should be or how they are made, we don't see any meaningful interaction between him and Crenshaw, and we don't even see Crenshaw actually helping or lending strength or perspective in any way. It is hard to see why he is even in the story.
1 person found this helpful.
age 8+

not great quality content

I was excited to show this book to my 9 year old because it had great ratings. I decided to read a little of it first and was disappointed to find that it is basically just the thought patterns of a kid, and had no edifying or helpful value. It is strictly for entertainment. Are you going to have your child read simply for entertainment? Or can they be enriched, matured, and inspired to greater qualities by what they read? Here are some excerpts to give you an idea: (talking about their middle names)"Orson and Marybelle were my dad's uncle and my mom's great-grandma. Those folks are dead, so I don't know if they're good names or not." (implying that dead people don't matter or are bad?) "I hadn't told anybody about what I'd seen at the beach. Robin would just think I was messing with her. My mom and dad would do one of two things. Either they'd freak out and worry I was going crazy. Or they'd think it was adorable that I was pretending to hang out with my old invisible friend." (so parents are stupid and can't be trusted with a kid's thoughts?) (his mom talking)"Just eat Dad's cereal, Jackson. You'll poop for a week." she answered. "Brussels-sprouts-taste-like-dirty-gym-socks..." (describing how to play a game called "cerealball" where you throw food around) "M & M's would be good too, if your mom isn't around to say no sugar." (this is to make your kid think: that's right! Mom is so annoying, and if she just wasn't around...) I have seen way too much of this garbage in books today for kids that encourages them to entertain negative, immature thoughts and influences their behavior. I have watched it happen with my own kids. Please pick something that will challenge your kid to grow, learn, and be a better, more well-rounded kid!
1 person found this helpful.

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