Author: Harrold, A. F.
Rudger, an imaginary playmate, must find his friend Amanda before he fades away to nothing, while eluding the only other person who can see him, evil Mr. Bunting, who hunts--and possibly even eats--imaginaries.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 173363
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 65807
Kirkus Reviews (+) (01/15/15)
School Library Journal (+) (02/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/15)
The Hornbook (00/03/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2015 One day Amanda opens her wardrobe to find a boy standing in it. His name is Rudger, and Amanda quickly realizes that he is her imaginary friend—imaginary but nevertheless quite real . . . to her, anyway. So far, so good, but then a peculiar man with a large red mustache shows up, ostensibly taking a survey, and a strange spectral girl makes an unsettling appearance during a storm. Is that why Amanda is then seriously injured in an accident and Rudger, left alone, begins to fade? In the nick of time, he encounters a talking cat named Zinzan and finds himself in a safe place. No more fading, and that’s good, but is it too late to be reunited with Amanda and what surprises still await? Though not quite as innovative as it might be, this is nevertheless a winningly whimsical celebration of the imagination, beautifully enhanced by both black-and-white and full-color illustrations by Kate Greenaway Medal–winning Gravett. Together, the text and pictures make this a very real treat. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2015 Gr 4–7—This inventive mix of humor and suspense starts with the amusing appearance of Amanda's imaginary friend, Rudger. Their summer of make-believe adventures quickly darkens, though, when Mr. Bunting shows up. He's a grown-up who can not only see "Imaginaries" like Rudger, but also eats them to prolong his own life. After a narrow escape from Bunting and his creepy sidekick, a girl who's also an Imaginary, the narrative shifts from Amanda to Rudger. The boy discovers a secret library full of other imaginary people and creatures, then finds his way back to Amanda for a final confrontation with Bunting. The premise of the Imaginaries is unveiled nicely, with a plot that's never predictable. The author is equally adept at depicting lighthearted characterizations and scenes that are truly scary. Gravett's illustrations provide excellent support for the story, ranging from black-and-white spot art to full-page images, along with several full-color spreads. Some are fun, while others are chilling, such as the series of images that uses alternating all-black pages to lead into a harrowing portrait of the evil Imaginary girl, staring right at Amanda as she tries to hide. The eerie moments never overwhelm the larger story, though, and questions about the power and limits of imagination provide some food for thought amid the action. VERDICT A great choice for readers who like fantastic tales with a dose of true scariness.—Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2015 Amanda doesn’t care a whit that her best friend, Rudger, is imaginary. After a car accident leaves her unconscious, however, the bond between Rudger and Amanda weakens and he begins to disappear; he takes refuge in the library, where creativity is available in sufficient abundance to keep forgotten imaginary friends alive. Rudger just wants Amanda to be safe and remember him, but the creepy Mr. Bunting and his own shadowy pal want to devour Rudger. The villain, clad in a Hawaiian-print shirt and dorky sunglasses but oozing malevolence, will likely be the most memorable element of this story, especially when readers discover what he feeds on to keep extending his life. Gravett’s full color double-page spreads are magnificent in their capture of the otherworldly tone of the novel, and the smaller accent illustrations reflect the text, either heightening the spooky factor or reinforcing the cozy, lighter scenes. The buoyancy and joy in the scenes where Amanda and Rudger take a few ordinary objects and dream up whole worlds of entertainment may have readers wishing they had such a perfect friend. Many readers, however, will spot the fact that Rudger mostly adjusts to being what Amanda needs or demands, and while this doesn’t seem to weaken their bond, it does hint at an eventual return to the library for Rudger once he is outgrown. AS - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.