Tish (Edwina Wyatt, illus by Odette Barberousse, Berbay)
Due to their very definition, imaginary friends can come in all shapes and sizes, and Tish is no exception. Resembling a woolly mammoth but with wings and an odour problem he relishes, the titular Tish can change in appearance and name depending on who can ‘see’ him. Eight-year-old Charles Dimple can. He’s lonely and wants a friend, one that would tell you if you had parsley in your teeth. Tish (named after a half sneeze) appears, and Charles finds his someone, his Perfect Friend. However, Tish doesn’t do exactly what is expected and after a time Charles realises he doesn’t need him. Next, bossy nine-year-old Annabeth Arch befriends Tish(bert) and he tries his best to adapt and please her, before she ends up going back to an old friend. Lastly, there’s Izzy, a well-portrayed rambunctious three-year-old who will make both child and adult readers giggle. Here Tish, or Bertie as Izzy calls him, feels wanted and needed once more, but it’s not to last. An imaginative, well-written story, this book will appeal to kids who might feel they are misunderstood or being sidelined by their friends’ behaviour. Tish could provide a comfort to them, especially those in the 7–12 age bracket.
Katie Haydon is a library officer in Geelong and a former assistant editor of Books+Publishing.