The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 8, 2014
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.
This happens to me every year. Every year the books that end up winning awards are the ones that I have not read. Of course, there are far too many books out there for me to read them all, but it does make one wonder whether the kinds of books I like just don't win awards. Ever. As a self-professed rookie when it comes to art and illustration, (this means that although I appreciate art, I don't have enough knowledge to critique it) I find the Caldecott to be both the most interesting and confusing award. Particularly this year since a young adult graphic novel won the Caldecott Medal. I thought this category was for picture books? But then again, there was Hugo Cabret a few years back.
Beekle is definitely beautiful to look at. Santat's illustrations have always been spot on in my opinion, reminding me of the Pixar/Disney cartoons of the past decade. But I couldn't tell you why this book was chosen instead of the ones that got the Medal or even ones not nominated. In my mind Rules of Summer, The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, Beautiful Moon, and Edward Hopper Paints His World were just as beautiful and just as deserving. This is not to say that those who won weren't deserving, but rather to point out my own lack of understanding and knowledge in this area. I have no idea what the criteria is for winning or even being nominated. All I can say is the picture book format is one of my favorite art forms. I am just as enthralled by the intricacies of Rembrandt as I am by the simplicity of Mo Willems.