Review: Skeleton Keys: The Unimaginary Friend

Published by Stripes Publishing
Illustrated by Pete Williamson
Published on 17th September

The Unimaginary Friend is a delicious treat of a story, wrapped up in Guy’s wonderful, humorous story-telling and Pete’s spectacular, Gothic-like illustrations which complement the story perfectly:  a book to be savoured – or devoured – in one sitting. 

‘Ol Skeleton Keys may be a little scary on the eyes, even though he’s a  rather dapper chap, but goodness, is he THE most marvellous creation of a brilliant imagination.  Which is just perfect, as this is a story wholeheartedly celebrating the power and wonder of the imagination. 

Imagine if what we imagined could become unimaginary, no longer trapped in our minds, but joining us in the real world:  what a brilliant concept!  Mr Keys became unimaginary many years before the story he shares with the reader.  He is a fantastically engaging character – a real gentleman of bones with a set of keys for fingers which open portals to other places– using old-fashioned language and creating new vocabulary in a playful and clever way.  Fantabulant! 

And strange things can happen when the imagination runs wild.

Skeleton Keys introduces us to ten-year-old Ben Bunsen on his tenth birthday.  Ben’s family moves around a lot which has made it difficult for him to form real friendships.  But he does have an imaginary friend, the Gorblimey, who is always there for him – in his imagination.  After a disastrous birthday party, Ben imagines the Gorblimey into existence.  At last, he has a best friend, of a rather nervous and fearful disposition, but one who is prepared to protect Ben.

Enter Skelton Keys!  He has felt ‘The Twitch’ that warns him a dangerous unimaginary friend is on the loose, and he is on a single-minded mission to send it to Oblivion.  Unfortunately for Ben, the unimaginary he has set his keys on is the gentle, nervous and kind-natured Gorblimey!  Could Skeleton Keys have made a mistake, even though his Twitch is never wrong? 

So begins an incredibly fast-paced, fun-filled adventure with just the right amount of delightful scariness … an adventure brimming with secrets to be unravelled, danger to be overcome and unimaginary friendships to enjoy.

There is just so much for young readers to enjoy in this story which is perfect for 7-9 year olds.  I’m definitely a fan of ‘Ol Mr Keys and am really looking forward to the next time he shares one of his stories. 

5 thoughts on “Review: Skeleton Keys: The Unimaginary Friend

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