Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (October 23, 2014) 240 pages
Rudger is Amanda's best friend. He doesn't exist, but nobody's perfect. Only Amanda can see her imaginary friend - until the sinister Mr. Bunting arrives at Amanda's door. Mr. Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumor 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 brilliantly funny, scary and moving read from the unique imagination of A.F. Harrold, this beautiful book is astoundingly illustrated with integrated art and color spreads by the award-winning Emily Gravett.My Rating: 5/5 stars
I loved this book. But first, a little warning. I encourage you to take the comparison to Coraline seriously, as far as the creepy factor goes. I've saw lots of "for all ages", and that concerns me. I loved this little book, but there's not a chance in the world I'll read it to my children just yet. There's mainly one part that I thought was creepy, but depending on how sensitive your child is, the whole thing could be pretty dramatic for them. The scene involves a lightning storm, a blackout, and a creepy girl. There's a picture of the scary girl placed at just the right/wrong moment to look extra creepy, and *could* cause some nightmares. I'd read it before either reading aloud to a child or handing it over to children prone to nightmares, though. A bedtime story might not be the best use of this book.
This book is a precious shout out to the world of imagination. There are limitless worlds out there to travel and people to meet with the use of imagination. My oldest little one has lots of imaginary friends, and that made this book extra special for me to read. I imagine it will tug on the heartstrings of adults more so than the targeted age. It was fun to see the support of some people concerning imaginary friends, the overreaction of others, and everything in between. There was one precious part that had tears flooding my face, and I enjoyed the way certain things tied together. That part just made me want to hug the book.
With the touching, even if creepy, story, lovely illustrations, the cover, AND the extra little doodles on each page, this is a book worthy of treasured book space. I was provided an ARC, but I plan on adding a final copy to our shelves!
*There are 10 full color illustrations, along with more black and white illustrations throughout the book. My ARC had a sample with 7 of the illustrations. (A 2 page spread of one big picture counts as 2 pictures, by the way.)
**I was provided an ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.