His baby son’s mispronunciation of “bicycle” was the inspiration for the title of Dan Santat’s 2015 Caldecott winning picture book – The Adventures of Beekle. Beekle is an imaginary friend who has yet to be imagined by a real child.
Rather than wait on his island for his special someone to appear, Beekle sets off to find her. Santat floats him through a series of adventurous illustrations, with Beekle travelling through dark starry nights, reminiscent of Chris van Allsburg’s designs, to encounters with colorful dragons and double-page drawings of whales and harbors that mirror Maurice Sendak’s wild ones, until he finally reaches the real world. Searching for his friend takes him through busy streets and subways, to fantastic playgrounds, and finally to the top of an amazing tree.
When Beekle does find his friend, Alice, the relationship slowly blossoms from shyness to perfection, and the story ends with a frame of Alice and Beekle connecting with a real boy and his imaginary friend, happily proclaiming – “The world began to feel a little less strange.” Friends can give you the courage to face the world – both the real and the imagined.
A lovely book to share and read aloud, as the pictures evolve in color and excitement to the final happy ending.