Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Imaginary Review

The Imaginary

Book talk: Rudger can be a bit shy but he's always willing to go on adventures with Amanda. Whether they're sailing the high seas on a pirate ship or exploring a jungle, Amanda knows Rudger will always be there by her side. That's why he's her best friend, even if he is imaginary. Rudger feels the same way about Amanda, but when a suspicious stranger comes knocking who can actually see him and Amanda ends up in the hospital, Rudger is left to face real danger on his own. He finds a haven for imaginary friends where he discovers that he's not the only one who has encountered this monster in a Hawaiian shirt, and he has all of them terrified. But Amanda is a special girl and Rudger will do anything to save her, even if the other imaginaries warn him that to do so is to face certain death.

Rave: This surreal horror story about a monster that eats imaginary friends is utterly bizarre and fantastic. The mythology Harrold develops around imaginary friends and how they work is wonderfully creative. I particularly like how they hang out at a library in-between gigs because they're hot spots for imagination. Of course I'm always partial to a nice talking cat sidekick as well. The imaginary friends are hilarious and touching and the monster is actually quite creepy. The illustrations just make it all the more wonderful with their fanciful details. The book is laced with humour and droll observations and the conclusion is surprisingly touching. A great book overall.

Every book its reader: It's hard to know who to recommend this to. The crowd looking for stories about imaginary friends and the ones looking for horror stories don't always intersect. But I think once kids started reading it they'd get into it. It would make a good read-aloud as well. I'd say fourth grade and up.

Topics and Trends: horror, imagination, monsters, friendship


You can find a reading guide at the publisher's website and more info at the author's website.

There's a great pair of book trailers showing a time-lapse of the author and illustrator at work.

Source: school library

The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Emily Gravett: buy it or check it out today!

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