Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas
|Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Lovely, lovely story told from the point of view of a little girl's imaginary friend. What if imaginary friends were real? Funny and moving and tender, this clever story will also stretch vocabulary and delight with surreal imagery.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 176||Date: December 2015|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster|
|External links: Author's website|
These are the memoirs of Jacques Papier. Jacques is not a popular boy. He's not last to be picked in playground games. He's never picked at all! If he raises his hand in class, the teacher never calls on him. The school bus driver often forgets to stop and let him off. Sometimes, his mother even forgets to kiss him goodnight. If it weren't for Fleur, his twin sister, and the fabulous games they play together, Jacques would be very lonely indeed.
And then, one day, Jacques overhears his parents talking and discovers a frightening truth. He is not Fleur's brother. He is her imaginary friend. This is a crisis of epic proportions. What is the point of you when you only exist in somebody else's imagination?
What follows is Jacques's quest for identity and meaning. I don't want to ruin it by giving it all away but let's just say that he finds imaginary compatriots, other real children as imaginative as Fleur, and is forced to deal with computer says no imaginary bureaucracy before reaching his goal.
The story is quite delightful, just as Toy Story was delightful. It imagines a world peopled by imaginary friends, as important an aspect of childhood as favourite toys. And in so doing, it reinforces this importance and, as a happy side effect, celebrates imagination to boot. What more could you want in a story?
I'll tell you what more! You could want irresistible imagery and a stretching vocabulary, that's what. Confessions of an Imaginary Friend is full of new and exciting words and perhaps its middle grade readers will be coming across many of them for the very first time. From bespectacled through rationalised and prohibitively to valiant, this is a story that will tantalise not only junior imaginations but also junior intellects. I would have loved this myself as a child - that sense of new meanings opening up, of chasing the exact sense of a word. Most of the words I know today came, not from school with its teachers and homework, but from reading for pleasure.
And the imagery is an equal delight. As Jacques and his non-imaginary friends play together, their flights of imagination are funny and surreal and joyful. And full of possibilities - both in the real world and in the world our imaginations can create.
I loved this little story. It's short and sweet and accessible. It tugs the heartstrings. And it gives children permission to indulge their flights of fantasy. Yet, at the same time, it challenges them too. As I already said: what more could you want from a story? I can't think of anything - but then, I'm past the age for imaginary friends. After Confessions of an Imaginary Friend all I can say to that is: more's the pity.
If Confession of an Imaginary Friend appeals, you could also look at The Boy with Two Heads by Andy Mulligan. Richard grows a second head. And it's not a very nice one. Older kids might like Henry Tumour by Anthony McGowan in which a boy's brain tumour develops a personality - and a life - of its own.
You can read more book reviews or buy Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas at Amazon.com.
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