A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dan Santat's The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, is a sweet, inventive picture book about a creature waiting to be imagined by a person so the two can be "perfect" friends. It won the 2015 Caldecott Medal for excellence and distinction in illustration and shows how a shy, artistic girl opens up once she finds the imaginary friend she's drawn.
What's the story?
An adorable, white, doughy-looking imaginary friend is born on a fantasy island among all the other imaginary friends who are "waiting to be imagined by a real child." But when he sees others chosen and he's still left behind, he worries that he'll never be picked and "given a special name." So he sets off on a journey across the sea to find his perfect friend, landing in a place that looks a lot like New York City. He finds the city and its people gray and dreary and is just about to give up when he comes upon a colorful playground where he recognizes other imaginary friends with their humans. There he meets shy, artistic Alice, who's imagined him in a picture she's drawn -- and she names him Beekle.
Is it any good?
THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE is a charming, imaginative story that taps into the common childhood experience of having an imaginary friend. Here the twist is that the imaginary creature needs you as much as you need him. Author-illustrator Dan Santat's illustrations are wonderful, with glowing-white Beekle (who looks a tad like the Pillsbury Doughboy with a tiny paper crown) in stark contrast to the monochromatic urban landscape around him, where the grown-up city dwellers look like they're not having any fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about imaginary friends. Have you ever had one? What was that friend like?
How did you like the pictures of the city? Did they look like a real city you've been to? Was it easy to imagine feeling lost in a big city like that?
Draw a picture of an imaginary friend you'd like to have. Does your friend look like Beekle?
- Author: Dan Santat
- Illustrator: Dan Santat
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Arts and Dance, Misfits and Underdogs, Ocean Creatures
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: April 8, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 3 - 6
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Caldecott Medal and Honors
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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