The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
|The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler|
|Summary: Beekle is an imaginary friend, who no one is imagining, so he sets off by himself to find a pal. Join him in this visually stunning, but strangely melancholy children's book.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 40||Date: February 2016|
|Publisher: Anderson Press|
|External links: Author's website|
A child's imagination can be a powerful tool, so their imaginary friend could be absolutely anything. How about a giant panda or an octopus that likes to build sandcastles? But what of those forgotten creatures; if an imaginary friend sits in the dark and no one thinks about them, do they exist? An audacious animal may just buck up the courage to stop waiting around for someone to imagine them and instead seek out their friend.
This is exactly what happens to Beekle in The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, whilst all his imaginary friends are being plucked from obscurity, he is left behind. So rather than doing nothing, he sets off to search the human world in the hopes of finding his soulmate.
The most notable thing about Beekle is the lush illustrations and as a visual feast it is one of the most spellbinding I have seen. Santat is a very talented drawer and his use of colour in the book is magnificent. Each page has so much to see, from the outlandish world of make-believe to the colourful city life of the real world. He also uses scale brilliantly; you get a sense of Beekle's fear and isolation as he is often portrayed as standing slightly back or dwarfed by much larger elements.
The illustrations have a foreboding about them that permeates the entire book. This is a melancholy tale, told in a melancholy manner. Beekle is a rather sad little creature and although the book does conclude in a nice way, it is a slightly bleak journey getting there. An older child will be able to appreciate the emotions that the book is trying to evoke, but for a smaller child, it just seems a little scary.
Children's books can vary greatly from the simple and joy-filled to the dark and moralistic, Beekle sits a little uncomfortably between the two. The book won a prestigious prize in 2015 for being a distinguished American picture book, but for me, it feels like a children's book that would appeal to an adult jury more than a child. A 5-7-year-old will pick up on the vibrant illustrations, but will they also pick up on the depressed tone?
Another book with a crazy imaginary world is Super Happy Magic Forest by Matty Long, whilst if the surreal interests you, look no further than Not Without My Whale by Billy Coughlan and Villie Karabatzia. Dan Santat also illustrated Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show by Michael Buckley.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat at Amazon.com.
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