Any conversation about children’s books is going to feature a couple of names at some point.
Oliver Jeffers. One of the very best picture book authors/Illustrators in the whole widest world. We have a complete library, and my book-absorbing 8yr old STILL regularly revisits the astonishingly beautiful ‘Stuck’ and ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ on a regular basis.
And Eoin Colfer – the man who gave the world Artemis Fowl. Quite simply one of the best series of books for young people/juniors/teens/grown-ups ever. Also happens to be one of the hardest to describe and still sound interesting… (Science Fiction Fantasy about a kind of tech-geeky fairy underworld and a teenager who is a master criminal but emotional gold inside? Yes, I’d probably have passed too…)
But a brand new book launched today has had me squeaking all over the place with excitement.
It’s only the two of them. TOGETHER. Eoin Colfer wrote Imaginary Fred – and Oliver Jeffers has illustrated it.
Imaginary Fred. Oh me oh my, the joy and delight!
I couldn’t wait to read it, my expectations were high as I opened the first page… and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s subtle, clever, deliciously gentle and heartfelt… and leaves you with a smile as you turn back to the first page to read it again. The illustrations are typically quirky and detailed, gorgeously rounding out the story and making the book a wonderful, wonderful read.
The story is one of an imaginary friend – Fred – who floats like a feather as he waits for a little electricity, or luck, or even magic, to enable him to appear to a lonely child who needs him. But it’s a sad fact that imaginary friends get left behind, and fade back to floating like feathers to wait for their next friend to need them for a while.
All Fred wants is a special forever-friendship to keep for himself.
It’s gorgeous – and as well as being a comforting read for any child with an imaginary friend, there’s a deeper message that applies just as much to relationships with favourite toys and modern child friendships built over the internet, as well as ‘real life’ friends too.