We Recommend: Imaginary Characters

It’s We Recommend! In which we post a request that's been sent to us, and do our best to get that person the right book. Know a kid who needs a book to read? Send us (thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com) his or her likes, dislikes, favorites, quirks, and any other reading information that might be helpful, and we will think on it, and pose it to our oh-so-helpful readers. And look in the comments—all the best recommendations are there.

What, you may be asking, are imaginary characters? Aren't all characters (in fiction at least) imaginary? 

Yeah, that's what I was wondering too, when I got this:

My sone just read The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl, and is reading George’s Marvelous Medicine, both of which he really likes. He likes books with imaginary characters that are interesting to read. 

Well, books with imaginary characters that are interesting to read would pretty much cover my interests too. But more! I needed more! So I wrote back and asked for more. What was an imaginary character anyway?

He told me likes “magical” characters, and yes he loves fiction although he is also obsessed with cars and would read non-fiction about how cars are made forever. He’s just starting to read 60- to 80-page chapter books, and I’m hoping to find books that size or a little longer with a capturing story that can keep him practicing. He’s turning 8 this december, he’s moderately interested in baseball, obsessed with cars, likes science and “how things are made.”

Ah! Magical characters! Now we're cooking with gas. Also, he will read nonfiction about how cars are made forever? I am, as often happens, captivated by the very idea of this person going busily about the world, with his strong and strongly felt, interests. 

But the real issue is: what should he read? Of course, one wants to go with Roald Dahl, and I was thinking about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but first of all, he's probably read it, or at least heard of it, and second of all, Charlie is an ordinary boy in a magical world. Are there any magical characters I could think of?

Strangely, this was harder than I'd thought it would be. So many regular kids! So many magical worlds they go to! I thought of Stuart Little—a mouse is certainly magical. I thought of Secrets of Droon—but I always recommend that, and the kids aren't magic. I thought of Miss Piggle-Wiggle, and hit right up against non-magical kids again.

I suggest this with trepidation, but hope:


My reasoning? He's flat, for Pete's sake! That is magical. 

And I don't want to go crazy on this kid and offer the Hobbit when he's ready to read 80 and 90 page books. Flat Stanley is an icon! A hero! A touchstone! 

At least I hope he is. I have not, it must be admitted, read Flat Stanley, so please please please if I am far off, readers, speak out in the comments! And find us some magical characters while you're at it!

5 thoughts on “We Recommend: Imaginary Characters

  1. I wonder if imaginary characters would include imaginary worlds? Maybe Dinosaur Cove books by Rex Stone? About two boys that discover a world of dinosaurs that they visit?
    Flat Stanley is a great early chapter reader. So are the Magic School bus chapter books but they don’t qualify with a magical kid.


  2. Emily Jenkins has two series that might appeal: Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic starts the Toys set and Invisible Inkling is about an invisible bandapat which is not the same as imaginary, at all.


  3. The Littles! They are tiny people with tails. They are not particularly magical but their works is magical enough I think and I think the books are the right legnth?


  4. The Borrowers may be a little advanced but that is what I came up with. I think my daughter kind of skipped this early readers stage and so I’ve got nothing.


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