The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

5.0 4
by Dan Santat
     
 

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Winner of the 2015 Caldecott Medal

This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special

Overview

Winner of the 2015 Caldecott Medal

This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat combines classic storytelling with breathtaking art, creating an unforgettable tale about friendship, imagination, and the courage to find one's place in the world.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
…[a] sweet, mind-bending gumdrop of a tale…
Publishers Weekly
01/27/2014
On an island of imaginary friends waiting “to be picked by a child and given a special name,” one friend—he’s adorably pudgy, and wears a paper crown—resolves to wait no longer. He sets sail in a small boat, but the sea serpents and whales he encounters are not nearly as daunting as the real world, which is gray and pedestrian: “No kids were eating cake. No one stopped to hear the music.” At last, his human appears: she’s a geeky, mop-headed girl who likes to draw. A sweet sequence shows the two shifting and blushing next to each other; she turns to him with his new name: “Beekle.” He’s overjoyed. Santat (Crankenstein), a versatile and talented illustrator, ranges wide, drawing underwater ocean scenes, grim cityscapes, and appealing alien creatures. The third-person retelling weighs the story down somewhat—there’s no conversation—and the pace drags as Beekle’s search has more obstacles than it needs to. Affirming thoughts abound (“thinking about his friend gave him the courage to journey on”), but fans may miss the cracked humor of Santat’s more irreverent work. Ages 3–6. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Apr.)
The Huffington Post
Praise for The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend:

Dan Santat is one of the hardest working people in the industry today. And while his immense talent was always evident, Beekle takes his artistry to a new level. The story (which is just bursting at the seams with charm) begins on an island of colorful creatures, each waiting to be imagined by a special child and thus transported to the real world.... As with all great books, Beekle has an air of inevitability about it. As if somewhere out there is an island of perfect stories just waiting for the right person to come along and imagine it into being. We should all be grateful that Santat, with his brilliant use of color and humor, was here to bring Beekle to life.

From the Publisher
Caldecott Medal Winner
New York Times Bestseller
#1 Indiebound Bestseller
Huffington Post Best Overall Picture Book of 2014
PBS Parents Best Picture Book of the Year
NPR "Great Read"
ALSC Notable Book for ChildrenA Chicago Public Library Best Picture Book of the Year"

How does an imaginary friend feel before he's been imagined? In Santat's sweet, mind-bending gumdrop of a tale, Beekle lives on a rainbow-hued island, 'hoping for his turn to be picked by a child.' Eventually, like Max in 'Where the Wild Things Are,' he takes to the seas and soon lands in the real world - which looks a lot like Manhattan. Though this island seems awfully drab, Beekle and his friend find each other at last. She's everything he's ever dreamed of, and the feeling is mutual."—The New York Times Book Review

Dan Santat is one of the hardest working people in the industry today. And while his immense talent was always evident, Beekle takes his artistry to a new level. The story (which is just bursting at the seams with charm) begins on an island of colorful creatures, each waiting to be imagined by a special child and thus transported to the real world.... As with all great books, Beekle has an air of inevitability about it. As if somewhere out there is an island of perfect stories just waiting for the right person to come along and imagine it into being. We should all be grateful that Santat, with his brilliant use of color and humor, was here to bring Beekle to life.The Huffington Post

* "Santat's attention to detail in the mixed-media illustrations shares a child's eye for laughter and movement on full-bleed spreads with strategically placed text. Gazes of wonderment, broad smiles, and changes in perspective ensure an easy transition from page to page...Like Beekle's new friend, there's something here that feels just right as an "unimaginary" friendship creates a joyous, recognizable bond. A terrific addition to any library."—School Library Journal (starred review)"

Beekle (a crowned white gumdrop of lovable cuteness) lives on a fantastic island with other creatures "waiting to be imagined by a real child." After seeing his companions leave, one by one, Beekle loses faith that he will ever "be picked and given a special name," and so he does "the unimaginable" and ventures forth to find his friend...Welcome, Beekle. It's nice to know you."—Kirkus Reviews"

This story would comfort children looking for new friends and would also encourage children to reach out to someone different."—LMC

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
You may believe that imaginary friends do not exist until they are thought into being. In this story, they do. They come into being on an island far away, and there they wait to be selected and named by a child. One crowned, marshmallow-like creature tires of waiting. He decides to take matters into his own hands, and sails across dangerous waters to “the real world.” At first, it seems a dismal place. Then he catches sight of another imaginary and follows it to a bright playground full of children and their imaginary friends. Unfortunately, his child does not seem to be there—or is she? A fantastic friendship forms, our protagonist gains a name, and—as the end pages hint—the adventures continue long after the last page. Hopefully there will be more stories about this endearing hero in picture books to come. This book is very much in the style of Tom McCrae’s When I Woke Up I Was a Hippopotamus (2011, Andersen Press) as it artistically combines imaginary and realistic story elements. Readers may be reminded of Erica Perl’s Dotty (2010, Harry N. Abrams), another perceptive and warmly-told tale about children and imaginary friends. Highly recommended. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
★ 04/01/2014
PreS-Gr 2—How long would you wait and how far a journey would you make to find your truest friend? Born on an island for imaginary friends, Beekle waits to be "imagined by a real child." He waits and he waits, but his turn never comes. Filled with impetuous courage, Beekle does the unimaginable and heads out across deep waters until he reaches the real world. He finds that life there is so harried that no one notices him. Eventually, as he waits at the top of a star-leafed tree, a small girl with a friendly face calls out to him with a picture in her hand. They learn to be friends, share adventures and snacks, joke, "and together they did the unimaginable." Santat's attention to detail in the mixed-media illustrations shares a child's eye for laughter and movement on full-bleed spreads with strategically placed text. Gazes of wonderment, broad smiles, and changes in perspective ensure an easy transition from page to page. Beekle's round white visage and taped orange paper crown are immediately identifiable in each scene, a sharp contrast to his surroundings against variations of dark neutrals on a city street or the brightly colored dragons of a child's imagination. Like Beekle's new friend, there's something here that feels just right as an "unimaginary" friendship creates a joyous, recognizable bond. A terrific addition to any library.—Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-26
If an imaginary friend is unimagined, does it become a real friend? Beekle (a crowned white gumdrop of lovable cuteness) lives on a fantastic island with other creatures "waiting to be imagined by a real child." After seeing his companions leave, one by one, Beekle loses faith that he will ever "be picked and given a special name," and so he does "the unimaginable" and ventures forth to find his friend. Upon arriving at a port city, he observes adults going about their daily lives in monochrome, dingy settings that lack any spark of color or vitality. Perspectives that often isolate the tiny Beekle in corners or surround him with large figures accentuate his loneliness. Everything changes when he arrives at a playground awash in color and sees children playing with their imaginary friends—many of whom had been on his island. But even here, he still cannot find his special friend. Feeling sad, he climbs a tree, and from his perch, he hears a voice calling to him. Lo and behold, he meets his special friend, Alice. She's imagined him after all, as evidenced by the picture he retrieves for her, which is of himself handing her a picture. In a delightful comic sequence, the pair become acquainted, and "[t]he world began to feel a little less strange." Welcome, Beekle. It's nice to know you. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316199988
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
04/08/2014
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
11,557
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD480L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling illustrator Dan Santat, a Society of Illustrators' The Original Art Silver Medal winner, is the author/illustrator of Sidekicks and the illustrator of Crankenstein by Samantha Berger. Dan lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, and various pets. His website is www.dantat.com.

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The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love that this book is about an imaginary friend who hasn't found a friend yet! I was talking to my son about imaginary friends recently and I know he will love reading about Beekle!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm 62. I spotted this book at a local retail store, picked it up, and ignored everyone trying to get past me while I stood there and read it. I knew I had to get this for the Nook. The illustrations are gorgeous , the message is gentle without being preachy, and it's fun for kids of all ages. And now I look up at the trees in the park, hoping to spot my own Beekle. I'm 62. I hope I'm never too old to enjoy a bit of magic hidden in the pages of children's books like this one!
psycheKK More than 1 year ago
After I finished reading this Caldecott-winning book, I desperately wanted a Beekle.  Someone needs to make that happen.  Until then, the best i could do was order my own copy of this book, so that I could read it over and over again (oh, yeah, and so my son could to).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a cut book