Author/Illustrator: Dan Santat
My rating: 5 of 5
On a distant island, imaginary friends live together just waiting to be imagined, to be chosen by a child. But one little creature finds himself waiting and waiting . . . and waiting. It seems like he’ll never be imagined. But rather than give up, becoming discouraged or cynical, he does something extraordinary. He goes off to find his chosen child all by himself, facing all sorts of adventures and dangers on the way. And even when it looks hopeless, he keeps searching until he finds his friend, his name (Beekle), and a happy future–together!
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend is so many positive things that I could go on raving about it for quite a while. This picture book’s story is immensely optimistic and yet also practical, full of good messages such as “believe the best of your friends even when circumstances make it seem like you shouldn’t” and “take positive action instead of sitting around feeling sorry for yourself.” It’s really delightful and encouraging. Plus, it’s just fun and imaginative, and the characters are likeable and believable. And the art–I can see why this won the Caldecott. It’s bright and fun and adorable: a hint of Shaun Tan, a touch of kawaii anime style, and a lot of originality, all perfectly combined. Even the lettering is a perfect fit. Seriously, you should check out The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend and share it with the young readers/listeners in your life, especially those around 4-6 years old; they’ll love you for it.