The Imaginary by A. F. Harrold and Emily Gravett

Published by Bloomsbury Children’s (ISBN: 978-1408852460)

‘That evening Amanda Shuffleup opened her wardrobe door and hung her coat up on a boy.’

From the moment Rudger appears, Amanda knows they will become best friends. Through Emily’s eyes, the world is transformed and they play at being spacemen, jungle explorers, nomadic travellers through frozen wastes because, you see, Rudger lives in Amanda’s imagination.

All is well between the friends until the night when a strange man appears - Mr Bunting, who apparently is able to see Rudger too. They say he hunts imaginaries and he has found Emily’s. In classic literary style, all the lights go out and Rudger finds himself running for his life.

The Imaginary is the haunting tale of friendship of the imaginary kind-of growing up and losing such companionship, and of fighting for it. Emily Gravett’s superb illustrations sit beautifully on the page alongside this unique tale.

Such a creative tale would surely inspire the creative minds of a class of children, providing an opportunity to write about their own imaginary friends, or wished for imaginaries, and the adventures that could be experienced with such a friend. 

If you are interested in reading more of A. F. Harrold’s work, then take a look at his website. There is a page dedicated to the imaginary with several fantastic You Tube videos where you can view Emily Gravett’s illustrations come to life on the page and watch a rather curious video from the author that will spark much classroom conversation regarding how writers draft, write and where they get their inspiration for their stories.