Published by Harper Collins, 2017.
This is the story of Sid Gibbons and his imaginary friend, Kevin. Sid is in trouble with his mum. His dinner is upside down on the floor. In fact, Sid has been getting into trouble all week. Faced with another telling off, Sid hatches a plan. He decides to blame all his misdemeanours on Kevin. Mum is not impressed with this and sends Sid to his bedroom. While he’s there, the ceiling hatch in his room opens and a light streams through. Sid climbs the ladder and enters a world of make-believe where he meets Kevin, who is just as Sid imagined him. To his delight, Sid soon discovers that it’s him who’s imaginary in this world and he uses this invisibility to get up to all sorts of mischief. Unfortunately there are negative consequences to his actions and poor Kevin ends up getting the blame for all the trouble Sid’s caused. Sid realises that he’s not been a good friend at all to Kevin. He sets out to make amends.
The story is written in verse: a bouncy, toe-tapping verse that cries out to be read aloud. There’s quite a lot of text for a picture book but the rhymes and the rhythm make it trip off the tongue.
As usual, Rob Biddulph’s illustrations are fabulous. Kevin is a super cute one-toothed hairy monster. His Battenberg-hued pink and yellow fur make me love him even more. The world of make-believe that Sid accesses through the loft is in glorious technicolour: a golden sky, pink and purple trees… In fact, the visual contrast between the dreary greys, greens and browns of the real world and the vivid multi-colour of Sid’s imagination is really striking. This contrast is mirrored in the end papers too; they are subdued at the start of the book but bloom into life by the end.
What I also really like is that there’s never any question that Kevin exists. Sid’s mum doesn’t have any problem with Sid having an imaginary friend, what she objects to is how Sid treats him.
I love Rob’s earlier picture books too (Blown Away, Sunk, Grrrrr! and Odd Dog Out) and, if you’re also a fan, it’s fun spotting characters from these previous books hidden in the illustrations of this one. I think these references are a really nice touch.
Kevin is a wonderful picture book about friendship, trust and taking responsibility for your actions.
Suitable for children aged 3+
Thank you to Harper Collins for sending me this book to review and to Toppsta for organising the giveaway.