March 16, 2015

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:34 am by suebe2

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
by Dan Santat
Little, Brown and Company

I adore Dan Santat’s work and his offbeat way of looking at the world.  Still, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book about an imaginary friend who decides to take charge and find his boy or girl.  I should have known that Santat would break the rules and win doing it.

Write a book and pretty soon, someone will tell you that you have to tell your reader the character’s name up front.  Not in this book.  When we meet the main character, marshmallow?  ghost?  with a crown, he is coming into being on the island where imaginary friends are born.  But he doesn’t have a name because his name will only come when he is picked by a child and given a name.

But he isn’t picked.  The purple octopus is picked. And he isn’t picked although the faceted panda is picked.  And still, no one choses him.  Perhaps his child is just to busy to fully imagine him?

Our main character works up his nerve and decides to go find the boys and girls who might become his friend.  After a long ocean voyage, he wanders into a restaurant.  No children and the adults aren’t much fun.  Then he tries the subway — even worse!   Finally, out on the sidewalk he spots a familiar tail and follows it to a playground.

Kids come.

And kids go.

And finally he sees someone who looks familiar.

Her name is Alice and she names him Beekle.  She is Beekle’s first friend.

At the hands of another author, this could become overly sweet.  Fortunately, this story is brought to us by the slightly offbeat and always delightful Dan Santat.  I’m not going to tell you how it ends because I refuse to spoil it for you.

I love Santats simple but expressive illustrations.  I especially enjoyed the variety of imaginary friends who ranged from lizard like to clearly octopus and then . . . Beekle.

This would be a great one for story time or to spark a conversation about imagination and originality.  Share this book with the highly unique child in your life!




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