When Oleg and Emma invent a new classmate called Sebastian, they are amazed when he appears - very much real - in their secret den.
Sebastian isn't like the rest of their classmates. He's never eaten pizza, he's not sure what goose bumps are, and he has a satchel that seems to hold an endless supply of hot ice cream.
But as the trio begin their adventures, more impossible things keep happening, from a runaway goat appearing at school to a sighting of some snowwomen walking down the road. Things soon take a turn for the dangerous when the three friends are pursued by the mysterious Institute of Unreality, who want to capture and erase Sebastian, restoring order to the world.
With the help of a cowboy gardener, an imprisoned scientist, and the rest of their class, can Emma and Oleg protect their new friend and keep the magic of the impossible alive, just in time for Christmas?
Most people, at some point in their lives, had an imaginary friend. Plenty of people, I'm sure, have also created fantastical people in their imaginations and wished for them to become a reality. Whilst Oleg and Emma are simply bored and create Sebastian Cole for a laugh, he soon becomes a reality, setting them off on an adventure they never would have expected.
One thing that I am always weary of, when reading a book that involves magical happenings (and particularly one set around Christmas), is the author giving us a sickly sweet, gooey ending to the tale where everything ends up perfect and everyone living happily ever after aka the quick fix. This book does give a major helping hand to the main characters parents at the end, but it wasn't too sickly sweet, so I could tolerate it enough for it to not ruin the overall enjoyment of the book. There were a couple of characters who were a little too odd, especially considering that they were meant to be average and typical, they got a very quick and easy fix but happily they weren't in the book too much to drive me mad.
I enjoyed the oddball that was Sebastian Cole, he was definitely odd and quirky and it was his character that provided the most entertainment throughout the book. Oleg and Emma are both typical kids who don't have that fab a home life, one has a dad who sleeps all the time and the other is so poor that their mum works very long hours and the kid is always hungry, but I liked how this didn't define the characters, it was just a part of their lives. The book moved along at a decent pace and slowly amps up the mystery and excitement as Emma and Oleg fight to keep Sebastian safe. If your child enjoys a bit of adventure with strange things happening, a side mystery and a few laughs, then this could well be the book for them to read.
I'll leave you with my favourite quote from the book. " 'That was weird,' said Emma. 'Was it?' asked Sebastian Cole, who wouldn't know weird if it climbed out of a toilet bowl dressed a an apricot and started barking like a dog."
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