Beekle: in praise of imaginary friends

Beekle, Bing Bong & Binker

This summer (which is coming to its close far too quickly), seems to be full of imaginary friends.

I don't think that I had one.  Unless when I am talking to myself ...

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
author and illustrator: Dan Santat
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (2014)

2015 Caldecott Medal Winner
New York Time Bestseller
#1 Indiebound Bestseller
Huffington Post Best Overall Picture Book of 2014
PBS Parents Best Picture Book of the Year

the story begins
He was born on an island far away where imaginary friends were created. Here, they lived and played, each eagerly awaiting to be imagined by a real child. 

Un-named and seemingly unwanted, our imaginary friend waits on a far away island 
to be chosen by a real child. 
When that event does not seem likely, he does the unimaginable
-- he leaves the island of his birth for the bustling city to find his friend.
After a seemingly extensive search, 
he finally meets his perfect match and is given the name "Beekle". Together they set off to explore the unimaginable.

why I love this book
• we have all longed for a friend who chooses us and is "just right"
• we all long to do the unimaginable
• we are all looking for our place in the world

Beekle lives that out for us - and shows us that it is all worth it - and that everything is going to be okay.

book extensions
To me, Beekle is one of those books that I will enjoy reading to my k-kids and that we will refer to (about being brave and trying the unimaginable) throughout the year.  It is one of those books that we will let percolate in our brains and in our hearts.

If the kids want to draw/paint/create an imaginary friend -- awesome.

If the kids want to dictate/write a story about an unimaginable adventure with their imaginary friend -- awesome.

We will celebrate Beekle's life lessons all year.  Together we will discover that we are the right fit for each other.  We have been waiting for this year to choose each other.  And we will adventure in the unimaginable together.

After enjoying getting to know Beekle, I went to the movies and saw Bing Bong.

Bing Bong is Riley's imaginary pal from the summer blockbuster Inside Out ( a brilliant movie, in my opinion).

Without any spoiler alerts, we all need a Bing Bong fighting in our corner.

And  ... a memory from my childhood - and another imaginary friend whose name starts with 'B'.

One of my favorite A. A. Milne poems, found in Now We Are Six, is Binker.  Here are a couple of verses.

Binker-what I call him-is a secret of my own,

And Binker is the reason why I never feel alone.

Playing in the nursery, sitting on the stair,

Whatever I am busy at, Binker will be there. ...

Binker isn’t greedy, but he does like things to eat,
So I have to say to people when they’re giving me a sweet,
“Oh, Binker wants a chocolate, so could you give me two?”
And then I eat it for him, cos his teeth are rather new.

Psychologists say that childhood imaginary friends are not uncommon at all, and can be beneficial in developing skills that are helpful in later life. Some thoughts here ...

1 comment

  1. I never had an imaginary friend either but my husband did ... Jimmy Markim :)

    Pinning the book!


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