Parents' Guide to

Imaginary Fred

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Imaginary pal has abandonment issues in fun, offbeat tale.

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Longer text and a fun, freewheeling narrative, told from the unusual point of view of the imaginary friend, make this a super choice for older kids in the picture-book crowd. Fred's a true-blue imaginary friend -- he's even rendered in blue! -- but he always gets dumped when a "real" friend comes along. This time, though, his new friend has an imaginary friend of her own, so the four hang out together. Friends both real and imagined are shown to have the same feelings: pleasure when sharing interests and activities, jealousy when they fear they might be replaced.

Since Eoin Colfer usually writes novels, there's some sophisticated humor that might go over a young kid's head: The friends pretend to be French and study mime. But there's plenty for the intended age group: The friends plan their own comic book, call themselves "the Dramatic Duo," and call emergency meetings. The messages are positive: Imagine a friend and he or she will come, and friendship survives bumps. Kid-lit superstars Colfer and Jeffers clearly had a blast collaborating on this book, and the fun shines through.

Book Details

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