Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"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
About the Author
One day a year he is Santa Claus, but the other 364 days Dan Santat
writes and illustrates children's books. He is also the creator of Disney's animated hit, "The Replacements." Dan graduated with honors from the Art Center, College of Design. He lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, a rabbit, a bird, and one cat.