When it comes to imaginary friends, your kiddo’s adventures are limitless. Plus, they’re a form of pretend play that gets your little ones in the zone for socializing, empathizing and problem solving. After all, your tots are literally putting themselves in another’s shoes. Read several children’s books about this creative relationship, check out Common Sense Media‘s list of whimsical books, both from the kid’s point of view and the imaginary friend’s.

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The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
Age: 3

Parents need to know that Dan Santat‘s The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, is a sweet, inventive picture book about a creature waiting to be imagined by a person so the two can be “perfect” friends. It won the 2015 Caldecott Medal for excellence and distinction in illustration and shows how a shy, artistic girl opens up once she finds the imaginary friend she’s drawn.

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Imaginary Fred
Age: 4+

Parents need to know that kid-lit stars Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers have teamed up to createImaginary Fred, a picture book from the point of view of Fred, an experienced but now lonely imaginary friend. All is copacetic when he meets new friend Sam since they share so many interests, until Sam gets a “real” friend and Fred worries he’ll be replaced. Friends of all stripes will relate both to the fun and the fears, and the book even points the way to the future; as time passes, both Fred and Sam drift closer to their romantic partners, though their own bond remains strong. This is a great choice for K–3 kids, who’ll be able to stick with the longer text and more sophisticated point of view.

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Maggie’s Monkeys
Age: 4+

Parents need to know that this book deals with a little girl’s imaginary world, and the family’s methods for dealing with it.

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Goldilicious
Age: 5

Parents need to know that kids who liked the first Pinkalicious book will probably like this third book in the “licious” series.  Also, anyone who wants to open a discussion on imaginary friends may find it helpful.

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Dory Fantasmagory
Age: 6+

Parents need to know that Dory Fantasmagory is an entertaining story drawn from a lot of real-life experience by author/illustrator Abby Hanlon, a former first-grade teacher. The first installment of a new chapter-book series, it features an intrepid 6-year-old who’s about to go into first grade and doesn’t let being the baby of the family slow her down. When her siblings ignore her, she fills the house with imaginary (mostly cute) monsters. (The opening page defines “FANTASMAGORY” as “a dream-like state where real life and imagination are blurred together.”) Hanlon shows much understated empathy for the characters and what makes kids tick, from Dory’s overactive imagination and nonstop energy to the long suffering of her sibs who just want to be left in peace. There are sweet lessons along the way about being part of a loving family. Dory’s antics include stabbing her doctor with a lollipop stick as revenge for a shot. And some kids will relish the scene about poisoning a witch; others will find it troubling.

Read Common Sense Media’s full list and discover the best books about imaginary friends by clicking here. 

CSM-logoCommon Sense Media is a leading independent nonprofit organization offering the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for everything kids want to watch, play, read, and learn. The ratings, reviews, and information are unbiased and provided for free to help families and educators make great media and technology choices.