Anderson, Deanna. Imagica: The Boy Who Had No Imagination. Baltimore: Publish America, 2006.
This young adult novella of 53 pages is easily a fun-filled-one-sit read that’s sure to capture the imagination of all who read it! In fact, it’s dedicated “To everyone who has ever dared to use their imagination.” It is the story of a boy named Eli, who is like a normal 11-year-old boy, except he was only interested in scientifically proven facts—not imaginary things—at the book’s beginning.. Spurred on by his grandfather, to flex his imagination muscles for a change, Eli travels to the wonderfully imaginative place called Imagica, where “Imagination is the way [the folks dwelling there] live” (p. 21). Imagica is a land where grand parties, with lots of food and very interesting guests, are basically thrown at the drop of a hat and where places like ImagiStation (complete with activities and treats you might find in Santa’s workshop, Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and Wonderland all rolled into one and then some!) come to life. Eli can’t return home to his “normal” existence till he learns to use his imagination, but he’s aided by friends he meets along the way. Namely, the twins Allaria and Alder and the lovely Princess Illusia. This book reminds me of “The Famous Oz Books” by L. Frank Baum (which I absolutely loved as a child) mixed with a bit of the 1984 movie The NeverEnding Story for its both whimsical and wondrous-fantasy-world feel. The title of the book and the obvious primary focus on subjective fantasy/imagination notwithstanding, there’s also a bit of a surprise ending in that objective reasoning/grounded facts really play a surprise, yet integral, part. Without giving the ending away, I’ll merely say that it has to do with why Eli has no imagination at the start of the book, very unlike other boys his age. So, it’s ultimately a story where imagination and cold facts brilliantly coexist.
Review by Lucas McPherson