The Adventures of Beekle

The Unimaginary Best Friend

Introduction

Welcome to my store flyer for my favorite Caldecott Award winning book; The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Best Friend! This book is colorful, fun and has a great uplifting theme of friendship and hope. In this flyer I will describe the elements that make this book so special and such a great pick for teachers, parents and friends to read to the kids in their lives. From the pictures to the moral, this book is a 10/10!
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Literary Elements

The plot of Beekle is showed perfectly by the illustrations. The beginning of the book is hopeful and full of color and life as Beekle is born in an imaginary world and waits for a child from the real world to imagine him and give him a name. The first few pictures are detailed and lovely with beautiful pallets. As the story progresses, Beekle isn't getting imagined much to his dismay and the pictures become less detailed and colorful, so on and so forth with the themes of the book throughout the story. Beekle himself is drawn perfectly to reflect who he is. He is a white blob-like creature, no definitive shape or color. Similar to how he feels he has no exact identity as he hasn't been imagined. The settings are quite beautiful when they need to be (in imagination land) and not so colorful when it's called for (when Beekle travels to the real world). The theme is overall quite happy and the pops of color also represent the hope that Beekle has throughout his journey trying to be imagined and gain a best friend. The style of the book is very creative and the images reflect it. There are many things, especially in imagination land, that are eye catching and full of imagination!
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Physical Features

The size and shape of The Adventures of Beekle is average and it has a hard cover which I personally like because it makes it easier for the reader to touch and mess around with without causing damage to the book. The cover is very cute and kind of descriptive of the content. It features Beekle at a bus stop in the real world and everything is in dull color except for him. He is the focal point of the cover, just as he is the focal point of the story! The font also caught my eye in this book because it looks kind of like a child's handwriting. I felt that was perfect for this book because it's all about imagination and the minds of kids. Overall the physical design of the book was fitting for the story and the images inside.

Visual Elements

The visual elements of this book are part of what make it so special. I found the pictures to be bright, colorful and full of life. The color choice was fitting for each part of the story and the point of view and distance added a deeper meaning to some of the pages. For instance, on the first page, Beekle is born into the imaginary world. The edges of the page are darker and the creatures are all on the outside border looking in at newborn Beekle. Beekle however is in the middle right of the page and surrounded by clouds and a rainbow and what looks like sunlight. He is the most eye catching part of the page. On page three of the book, Beekle is waiting to be imagined by a real child and the point of view is a little higher and the distance is a little greater between the reader and Beekle. It's almost as though we are looking down on him as he waits in vain. I found this very effective because many times we look down upon people we feel sorry for or we feel small and low when things aren't going our way. Finally, on page 5, Beekle is sailing into the real world. The page itself says "...he did the unimaginable." And the picture shows it in great detail. Across the entire page is a large colorful imagined dragon watching over Beekle as he sails through the imaginary clouds and toward the real world where he will search for the one thing he has been longing for all this time, a friend.
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Artistic Style

The images in this book appear to be surrealistic in the beginning and cartoon style later when Beekle enters the real world. The imaginary friends in the beginning of the book are so creative and vivid and the environments that exist in the imaginary world are extremely intriguing. The real world is beautifully drawn as well, but has a cartoon feel and real life objects that are easy to picture for anyone. Overall I love the transition from surrealism to cartoon because it almost shows a contrast between a child's mind and an adult's mind. The child's mind is limitless and fun and crazy while the adult mind is more tame in nature and not quite as excited with possibilities. I think this was a great artistic choice!

Artistic Media

In an interview with Pen & Oink, Dan Santat explained all about how he created the amazing Caldecott winning images we see in The Adventures of Beekle. The interviewer asked Santat how he managed to make such visually intriguing art for the book to which he replied, "I take a sheet of paper and then I just try to make really beautiful watercolor marks and interesting textures. Then I take another sheet of paper and fill that up with charcoal, another with color pencil, another with acrylic. I scan all of those papers in and I end up with these huge Photoshop files of pure texture." In other words, it's all about layering and adding texture when it comes to this book. It gives it a more realistic feel and more vivid effect.

Elements of Illustration

The elements of illustration in this book were all fitting for the story and aided the effectiveness of the message of friendship and perseverance. The framing of this book was interesting because the words were mostly floating until Beekle came to the real world and met his friend. Also there were no borders or anything like that until the real world either. This was probably done purposefully to show the carefree feeling of the imaginary world compared to the real world. The arrangement flowed nicely and kept my eyes moving in the book until I turned the page, keeping my interest the whole time. The narrative sequence and page turns were probably the strongest elements of illustration. Through most of the book the words and pictures keep you anxious for the next page. Also the images are large and take up both pages in the open book which makes it easy to see and follow and allowed for extremely detailed images.

Interplay of Text and Illustrations

This book did an amazing job of illustrating the message the words alone could not convey. Only in doing this project did I realize just how detailed and complex the images were in relation to the text. The text was simple and understandable. It told us all about Beekle and his desire for a friend and to feel a sense of belonging. Beekle wanted an identity. So instead of waiting forever, he decided to be brave and take a chance and find a friend. The images in the book showed us a scary, exciting and hopeful tale unfolding into one new friendship. A new beginning for Beekle and his real girl. This has been my favorite children's book so far.

Sources

"A Pen & Oink Interview with Dan Santat: The Making of Beekle." Pen & Oink. N.p., 25 Aug. 2014. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.


"A SLOW GROWING MASS OF TANGIBLE THOUGHTS." A SLOW GROWING MASS OF TANGIBLE THOUGHTS. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.

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