The impossible boy by Ben Brooks

cover image

Quercus, 2019. ISBN: 9781786540997. 256pp.
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Oleg and Emma are best friends, hang out together at school and have their own little hideaway in the schoolyard. They use their imaginations to invent a student, Sebastian, and even add him to the class register and hand up work in his name. What shocks them both is when their imaginary friend, Sebastian actually shows up, in a bizarre cardboard spaceship.
He is very friendly but not very wise in the ways of the world and Oleg and Emma feel responsible for him as he is their own creation. Sebastian participates in school lessons and eventually befriends the class.
The impossible boy brings with him impossible adventures, as a menacing group of masked people seem determined to capture him and make him disappear again. Exploits include snow women who have come to life, the groundsman who never seems to age, a pop-up goat and the mysterious "Institute of Unreality".
Emma and Oleg have personal problems in their home lives which make their daily existence difficult and uncomfortable. Both have issues with parents who are not able to parent for differing reasons and are unaware of their children's day to day life as well as the more bizarre happenings around Sebastian.
Author Ben Brooks, well known for his Stories for boys who dare to be different, has written a rollicking tale where factual and imaginary worlds blend together and the characters from stories or imaginations have their own life in the real world.
He tells a fun story but also gives insights into the children's world of friendships, loyalty and home responsibilities.
The front cover, illustrating Sebastian's arrival is bright and appealing and there are black and white illustrations scattered throughout the book. I recommend this story to students aged 8 and over.
Jane Moore