Archive for December 28th, 2014

beekle cover

by Sam Juliano

Suffused with dreamy surrealism and the creative spirit present in the work of Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki, Dan Santat’s The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend is easily one of the most imaginative picture books of the year.  It is also to date the most accomplished work yet by an artist who for the past few years has been delighting school children with his cheerfully subversive and unique watercolor paintings in beloved books like Crankenstein, Carnivores and Ninja Red Riding Hood.  The former work was chosen by first grade consensus as one of the three favorites of 2013, and has led to a just released sequel that again gave Santat the opportunity to work with Samantha Berger.  The depth and scope of his vision in The Adventures of Beekle should have Caldecott committee members staying up late with their own visions of a cuddly white blob wearing a gold paper crown who for all purposes is the most benign alien one would ever conjure up.  In the tradition of venerated children’s book icon Maurice Sendak, Santat has moved out of the box to spur the minds of adventurous children, while bolstering the opinions of many adults who already believe some of the best art being produced in the country today is appearing in picture books. (more…)

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