Imaginary Friends

From Harvey, the invisible rabbit, to Goldie, the unicorn in Pinkalicious, imaginary friends have been floating through literature – getting children and adults into trouble, and saving them from loneliness.  Brandon Mull, the author of the Fablehaven fantasy series, uncovers Pingo, an imaginary friend who reappears in old age.

Illustrated by Brandon Dorman, Pingo resembles a feisty Hobbit with a tail. He entices the young boy into exciting adventures, until Chad becomes susceptible to peer pressure, and decides he is too old for silly play.  Pingo still gets the blame for Chad’s mistakes and pitfalls, playing the role of most imaginary friends who take the heat, but eventually, Pingo fades into the background of Chad’s adult life.  Until…

Chad becomes an old man and needs unconditional love again – and someone to talk to.

Who can say that it isn’t Pingo or one of his contemporaries that hides the keys when we cannot find them?  Everyone needs a friend.


If you are a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, or The Hunger Game,  you may already know about Brandon Mull’s young adult fantasy series.  I found Fablehaven by accident while browsing a local bookstore, and fell into a world of amazing characters – most of them not human.

When Kendra and Seth visit their grandparents, they find a strange world full of fairies, vengeful witches, and party-loving satyrs – all revealed when the children “drink the milk” from a special fifty foot cow “with hooves the size of hot tubs.” Grandma is a hen under a spell; the housekeeper is a naiad water nymph turned mortal; and Grandpa is the caretaker of a preserve for fairies and mythical beings on the endangered species list. Seth is the little boy who doesn’t abide by the grown-ups’ rules, and is constantly intruding into places and creatures that trigger trouble for everyone; thankfully, his big sister saves the day in a final battle of good vs. evil.  But the adventure continues in four more books.

With villains and vengeful fairies, Mull created an imaginative world for his target

Drink the milk

audience of middle schoolers, but adults may also enjoy the  clucking grandma and the overwrought witch gnawing at her knots – and laugh at the consequences for children who don’t mind their elders.