Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Storytellers and Wordsmiths everywhere!
The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold recalls to mind the memory of childhood and the power (danger?) of imagination. The story revolves around Amanda and her best friend named Rudger. They're typical friends that have lots of imaginary play, get into mischief, and share all of their secrets with one another. The only difference is that no one else can see Rudger because he's Amanda's imaginary friend. This book walks a tightrope between fantasy and reality which at times is quite blurred. This is not a fantasy full of giggles and silliness but one fraught with darkness and fear. There is a threat not only to Amanda and Rudger's friendship but to their very lives...and it's getting closer. This is a book about the true meaning of friendship and to what lengths you will go to preserve it. Also, cats. (I genuinely made a note after reading this book that was simply CATS so clearly that's an important aspect of this book.) I must also point out that the narrative was elevated even further by the fantastic illustrations of Emily Gravett. (I liked her work so much that I sought out her picture books.) I've been recommending this to reluctant readers because I think it's a great way to dip your toe into fantasy and the scary element definitely sells it as well. 9/10
What's Up Next: HiLo series books 1-3 by Jeff Winick
What I'm Currently Reading: The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatues by Aaron Mahnke & Haunted Nights: A Horror Writers Association anthology
This is an easy and quick paced book. I feel like it can be enjoyed by all ages, but is most important for grade school students who might not understand the horrors of a shut down. It would be confusing and scary for an adult, let alone a child! I never had to experience anything like this as a kid; it is sad that it is now common for schools to have these drills.
Using your imagination and cherishing your childhood seems to be some of the main themes of this book. I adored how they used their imagination to do all sorts of cool things, while there was a lock down drill.
One of my wishes for this book and the reason this did not have a 5 star rating, is I wish that there was more description instead of telling. Part of me can understand why this does not happen, because perhaps the author wants the child/person reading to use their own imagination. That is a nice thought, but I still like when books have showing over telling.
I know this is meant for children, and it is supposed to be quick and simple, but as an adult, I really wish I knew what caused the lock down, but I suppose I can use my imagination there as well.
The artwork by Jeanine Henning was cute. I wish there were more artwork in this book! I love the colors they went with.
Disclaimer: I received this from Netgally in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the chance to read this!
When I first read this book, I must have been a pre teen or in my early teenage years. I remember enjoying the book, but I doubt I fully grasped everything in the story. When I was younger, I might have been on Daphne and Hope's side, thinking Jessica should keep their secret, but as an adult, I know how wrong that would be.
I loved the imagination the girls showed in this story as they wrote their book and how they let the younger sister play with them and didn't shun her, as big sisters sometimes do. I believe the story handled bullying well, and Jessica and Daphne's reactions to it were realistic. I also think it handled the mental decline of the grandmother well, though I have no personal experiences with it to know if it was a correct representation.
Some of the words and actions of the grandmother toward Daphne and Hope broke me. I can understand why Jessica was terrified of her and also cringed every time the grandmother and Jessica interacted. As a child reading this, I probably would have disliked the grandmother as I wouldn't fully understand about her illness, but as an adult, I just feel sorrow and fear to know her condition is what happens to some of us as we age. It is sad, but a fact of life.
I do feel like the ending was a bit rushed. I wish there were more at the end, showing us how everyone is a few weeks, months, or even years down the road. Did Jessica keep in contact with them? Did they ever see their dream come true of being a writer/illustrator team? Did Jessica ever find her missing mouse?
Over all, I think this was a wonderful book and I hope many people of all ages get to enjoy it.
Going to the hospital is a scary experience, especially for children. Larry Broutman has used his photography skills to brighten the walls at the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and brighten the days of young patients. He created cheery and chuckle-inducing photographs for each floor of the hospital by digitally combining the photographs of animals that he had taken on safaris across the world with photographs he had taken of beloved places in his hometown of Chicago.
His unusual images of wild animals running amok in Chicago were so well-received that Larry Broutman decided to make enough photo mash-ups to fill a book. In Chicago Unleashed, wolves howl at the moon at the Adler Planetarium, hippopotami bathe in the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain, a flock of colorful parrots dodge skyscrapers, and many more creatures, large and small, get into mischief at well-known Chicago destinations. Plus, each amusing photograph is supplemented with fun facts about the featured iconic location.
TO BUY THE BOOK:
All author proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Disabled, and Access Living.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER/ AUTHOR:
Larry Broutman is a passionate and accomplished wildlife and landscape photographer and has traveled all over the world to photograph his subjects. He has published his work in magazines such as Africa Geographic and BBC Wildlife. Broutman has completed photographic projects for the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Children’s Memorial Hospital Clinic, and The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. His project for the Lurie Children’s Hospital developed into the publication of Chicago Unleashed.
Broutman attended MIT where he received his S.B., S.M., and doctorate degree in the field of Materials Engineering and Science in 1963. Specializing in Polymer Engineering and Science and Composite Materials, Broutman has vast experience writing college textbooks, reference books, and technical articles. In fact, he was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame.