Imagine You and Me

Imagine You and Me
Age Range
Release Date
January 23, 2024
Buy This Book
Randall and Parker are the very best of friends—they do everything together, from building elaborate sand castles to swimming with mermaids. One day while they’re playing, they see another group of bears nearby, and Parker urges Randall to ask the bears to play with them.

But there’s one problem: None of the other bears can see Parker. And the more time Randall spends with this new sloth of friends, the less he sees Parker too. Until one day, she disappears, and Randall must dig through his memories to find her.

This gentle story celebrates the beauty and magic of adventures with friends, both imaginary and real.

Editor review

1 review
Outgrowing a Friend
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Parker and Randall are best friends, and spent countless hours together playing, building sandcastles, and exploring. When they come across a group of other bears, Randall is too shy to approach them, but Parker pushes him. Sadly, the bears can't see Parker. The group plays kickball, and Randall doesn't feel competent, but once again, Parker encourages him to participate, and the bears are supportive of his efforts. Soon, Parker is left behind on walks, riding the bus, and finds herself playing more and more on her own. Randall barely notices her absence, but eventually misses his friend. He revisits the beach, has an ice cream cone, and thinks about his friend. Parker comes to the beach, and the two build a sandcastle. They also meet a small bear who can see Parker, and the two enjoy each other's company. In the end, Randall goes off with his bigger bear friends while Parker plays with her new friend, but each of them has happy memories of the other to sustain them.
Good Points
There are a lot of picture books about making friends or losing friends, as well as about imaginary friends, but this is rather different from those. I don't read a lot of picture books, but this seems to be an unusual book about outgrowing a friend. It's an important message, and works well along with other bittersweet books about relationships like Woodcock's Silver Linings, Salbury's The Best Friend in the Whole World, and the Davidsons' A Pocket Full of Sads.

Shum's artwork is bold and colorful, and Parker and Randall both have very expressive faces. I'm not sure how their eyeglasses stay on without a bridge over their noses, but the fact that they both have round, red rimmed frames reinforces the depths of their friendship.

This is a somewhat sad book, but losing friends who outgrow us, or whom we outgrow, is a part of life. There is acknowledgement of the sadness, but also a good example of remembering the good things about one's friend while enjoying new ones.
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