Friends Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers take a quirky, touching look at friendship in this clever collaboration. Imaginary Fred, as you can probably guess, is an imaginary friend. He floats like a feather in the wind until summoned by a lonely child lucky enough to be wishing for a friend when the conditions are just right. Fred is always happy to be summoned and tries to be the best imaginary friend, doing whatever his friend wants without complaint. But it always ends the same way. One day the friend will find a real friend in the real world and when that happens Fred begins to fade, until the wind whisks him back up into the sky. He dreams of finding a friend who will need him forever, someone who likes exactly the things he likes – could that person be Sam? It would seem so and the two of them are happy together for ages until Fred notices the tell-tale signs: Sam is back late from a party, off out early to do things with someone called Sammi. Fred is sure he can feel himself fading, but this time things are different. Sammi has her own imaginary friend Frieda and before long the four of them become a quartet, firm friends indeed.
Many children will understand just how Fred feels, and telling the story from his point of view makes readers think about what friendship is really about. Text and pictures though have a light, breezy feel and are full of jokes and humour. Jeffers’s illustrations are cartoon style and black and white, and Fred and Frieda provide almost the only colour. They are made out of computerised dots – he is blue, she is yellow – features and expressions deftly depicted with single black lines: imaginary friends have never looked so real, or so imaginary! A book to be enjoyed by friends of all ages.