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Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. Written and illustrated by Dan Santat. Little Brown and Company, Hachette. 2014. $ 19.00 ages 5 and up

"The real world was a
strange place.
No kids were eating cake.
No one stopped to hear
the music.
And everyone needed

Then he saw something

Beekle is an imaginary friend whose lot it is to fact, he's almost been too patient! A child has yet to lay claim to him. Many of the other inhabitants of his island have been called into service. Beekle is patient...until he isn't anymore.

Discouraged and tired of hanging around waiting for his turn to come, he boards a boat and goes in search of a child to befriend him. He encounters many scary sea creatures; he is buoyed on his dangerous journey by the idea that he will find that friend.

Arriving at a seaside city, he is astounded to find the world so drab, and almost colorless. He wanders the streets until he spies a somewhat familiar tail. Following that tail he finds himself in a land made brighter and more appealing by the children playing there. Many have imaginary friends; Beekle recognizes them as those who have gone before him.

No matter where he wanders in the park, he cannot find that friend. So, he climbs a tree in hopes that he might spot one. Guess what? After much thought about what led him to this place, and the  overwhelming feeling of sadness that no friend is about to appear to him, he hears a welcome 'hello!'.

Dan Santat is brilliant. He imagines a world that will delight and charm his readers. The warmth of belonging ends Beekle's long search, and creates the perfect 'ahhh!' moment for all. Bravo!

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