STARRED REVIEW
September 2015

The touching influence of imaginary friends

By Alison McGhee & Christopher Denise
Review by
Crickets and fireflies are mere insects, right? Maybe, but don’t tell that to Peter, a young boy who befriends one special Cricket and Firefly. And absolutely don’t call them his “imaginary friends” like his parents do. They prefer to be called “actual.”
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Crickets and fireflies are mere insects, right? Maybe, but don’t tell that to Peter, a young boy who befriends one special Cricket and Firefly. And absolutely don’t call them his “imaginary friends” like his parents do. They prefer to be called “actual.” 

One summer, as Peter (the “miniature giant,” as the insects call him) silently grieves the loss of a schoolmate, he keeps a close watch on Cricket and Firefly—two independent souls who long to see the world outside Firefly Hollow. Each wants to do amazing things: Cricket wants to learn to catch like Yogi Berra, and Firefly wants to fly to the moon. Together, the trio share their dreams, their hopes and their summer—all to the dismay of Peter’s parents (the “giants”) and Cricket and Firefly’s respective nations. 

Throw in the character of the wise old Vole, guardian of the river, and you’ve got an utterly charming and believable story of imaginary friends who really can do remarkable things with each other’s encouragement. 

Through sheer perseverence, this quartet of friends attain actual joy and reach important milestones. Author Alison McGhee has created a tiny world of wonder with a gentle, never heavy-handed, message. Both full-color and black-and-white illustrations from Christopher Denise add even more charm to the reading experience.

Fans of middle grade animal stories like The Incredible Journey and The Underneath will enjoy Firefly Hollow, as will anyone who has ever had, and loved, an imaginary friend.

 

This article was originally published in the September 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Firefly Hollow

Firefly Hollow

By Alison McGhee & Christopher Denise
Atheneum
ISBN 9781442423367

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