The Imaginary – A.F. Harrold

The Imaginary – A.F. Harrold

Title: The Imaginary
Author: A.F. Harrold (Illustrated by Emily Gravett)
Genre: Children’s Literature
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: 5th November 2015
Pages: 221
Rating: 5/5 stars

Thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy!


Rudger is Amanda’s best friend. He doesn’t exist, but nobody’s perfect.

Rudger is Amanda Shuffleup’s imaginary friend. It’s a funny old life, not really being there, but someone’s got to do it.

Nobody else can see Rudger – until the sinister Mr Bunting arrives at Amanda’s door. Mr Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumour says that he eats them. And he’s sniffed out Rudger.

Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. But can a boy who isn’t there survive without a friend to dream him up?

A story of love, loss, imagination and not really being there.

I loved the look of this book when it first came out in hardcover, at the end of last year. And I was so excited when Bloomsbury sent me a review copy of the paperback edition – it is absolutely divine! I devoured it in half a night!

Amanda has an amazing imagination – so much so that she dreamed up Rudger, her best friend in the whole world. But when Amanda gets hit by a car, she forgets all about him. How can an imaginary friend exist when there is no one there remember them? Bring in The Agency, the place where imaginary friends go when their creator doesn’t remember them anymore – here, imaginaries find children who want imaginary friends but lack the imagination to dream up their own.

Emily Gravett (whose work I fell in love with after reading The Odd Egg – check it out!) created the most beautiful world for this book! A lot of the images are rather dark – Mr Bunting is a pretty creepy guy after all – but there are also some images with brilliant colour, particularly those including the pink dinosaur named Snowflake.


The Imaginary is an absolutely gorgeous little book – for people of all ages. The illustrations are divine (Emily Gravett has done it again!) and the story is so cute! Rudger and Amanda are both incredibly adventurous and likeable – we hear the story through both voices, though predominantly Rudger’s.

A perfect Christmas present for older kids, The Imaginary is too cute for words, plus it’s fun for adults too! It made me very disappointed that I never had an imaginary friend, especially a pink dinosaur.


Did you have an imaginary friend?


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