Bound To Stay Bound

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 Real to me
 Author: Le, Minh

 Publisher:  Knopf (2023)

 Classification: Easy
 Physical Description: [32] p., col. ill., 23 x 28 cm

 BTSB No: 554780 ISBN: 9780593377499
 Ages: 4-8 Grades: K-3

 Imaginary playmates -- Fiction
 Adjustment (Psychology) -- Fiction

Price: $23.28

Told from the perspective of an imaginary friend who grapples with the complex feelings of growing apart from their human.

 Illustrator: Figueroa, Raissa

   Kirkus Reviews (03/15/23)
   School Library Journal (04/01/23)
   Booklist (04/01/23)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/05/23)
 The Hornbook (00/05/23)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 04/01/2023 A little girl and a green-furred, floppy-eared creature are the best of friends. And while “others tried to tell me she that she wasn’t real,” the narrator counts on her as a reliable, supportive presence, from enjoying playtime to sometimes getting into mild mayhem, “and I can’t imagine anything more real than that.” But when she wakes to discover her friend has suddenly disappeared, it brings worry, doubt (“Maybe I did just imagine her”), and loneliness. A charming twist will surprise readers, but they’ll also connect to the reassuring emphasis on the enduring impact of first friends and the satisfaction of making new ones. The soft-edged, vibrantly colored illustrations have a dreamy feel, lending dimension and emotional resonance to the friends’ individual and shared experiences, extended in page-filling spreads with fanciful backdrops. Nicely balancing between whimsy and sincerity, author Lê (Drawn Together, 2018) and illustrator Figueroa (We Wait for the Sun, 2021) together provide an insightful and delightful take on the imaginary-friend concept, while highlighting what it means to have—and be—a real friend. - Copyright 2023 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 04/01/2023 K-Gr 3—This story of a special friendship between a monster and a young girl gently introduces the sometimes-sad reality of changing relationships. Despite others telling the narrator that he is simply imagining the friend, the pair does everything together, with the narrator repeating the line "She was real to me." One morning, the narrator discovers the other is missing. Despite searching everywhere, the dear friend is nowhere to be found. The narrator is devastated at the loss and misses the comfort of his old friend. With time, though, our hero makes new friends, and finds himself doing the same things with the new crew as he did with his old friend. He misses his first friend but finds solace in imagining all of the wonderful things she may be doing and drifts to sleep beside his monster pals. The magical illustrations complement the themes of imagination and childlike wonder well. The story begins a bit predictably; the pace is reignited when it is revealed that the narrator is actually the monster. VERDICT To adult readers, this sweet story gently conveys the inevitable pains of changing relationships, but this theme may be lost on young children; share with older elementary children instead.—Ellen Kleber - Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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