Tag Archives: beekle
my six favorite picture books of 2014
I give you, my six very favorite books of 2014 and why.
(Please remember I haven’t read every book published this year—how I wish Viva Frida and The Farmer and the Clown were at my library—sigh. So do tell me your favorites in the comments for us all to check out when we can!)
(Please also remember that I was selective. Hugely, massively, almost impossibly selective.)
I’m choosing just the books that really wowed me. Me as a particular reader. And me as a particular writer who took inspiration from these, some because they’re exactly what I’d like to create and some because they’re exactly the wonderful kind of thing I never ever could.
Sparky by Jenny Offill & Chris Appelhans.
I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about this book. I was being selfish with it, it’s true. (Though the main character did once get a fashion shootout for best homemade costume!) The girl’s narration is pitch-perfect. Hilarious. Insightful. Childlike and sophisticated, that coveted combination. It will make you laugh and then melt your heart at the end.
Hug Me by Simona Ciraolo.
What is this book honest about? It’s honest about Felipe the Cactus’s prickly family. Of course all families aren’t prickly, but to portray one that is that way, I find truthful and daring. Authentic and helpful. And yet, it’s fun! Not mention how adorable Felipe is or the way he journeys to finally find kinship.
Fox’s Garden by Princesse Camcam.
This picture book really packs a punch. Incredibly beautiful cut-paper scenes and then the quiet, touching heart of the story: A little boy who is kind to a fox. And the fox’s gift in return. A story for winter and kindness and slowing down to look.
It’s impossible for me not to like one of Tan’s books. This one showcases his bizarreness at its finest. Not only that, it’s a portrait of a complicated sibling relationship between two brothers. There are layers to look at and puzzles to contemplate. All in the most enjoyable, poignant way.
Beekle by Dan Santat.
Beekle is so adorable that I had to craft him out of marshmallows. I think this is a character that will stick around. He’s brave and good and you just want to give him a squeeze. Plus, he’s the charming star of a magical story of imagination and friendship. There’s a friend out there for everyone, if you just believe. This picture book reminds me a whole lot of a couple of my very favorite books ever.
Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts.
This book is beautiful and stylish and heartwarming. But what sticks out most to me is what a fabulous example of writer and artist collaboration it is. Beaty and Robertst are so clearly a team and they’ve created a collaborated quilt of loveliness and detail and surprise.
Cheers to another year of exuberantly wonderful picture books and another yet to come!
(p.s. Here are 10 that took my breath away last year.)
the adventures of beekle + marshmallow beekle craft
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat.
What a magical book. A heartwarming book. A brave, enduring character, that Beekle.
An imaginary friend looking for the friend who’s going to imagine him. Traveling all the way from his imaginary friend world to the real world. The real, gray world. (Except it’s colorful and bright where kids play! The use of color in this book is masterful and such a joy to behold.)
A celebration of imagination and play and the inventiveness of a child’s mind. And a celebration of friendship, even the kind nobody else can see, but is the real deal.
I’m confident you’ll see when you read it (or read it again). Yes, you will.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Beekle has elements of two of my favorite picture book creators, Shaun Tan and Oliver Jeffers. It’s like Lost and Found meets The Red Tree meets Santat’s particular magic. Agree? Either way, Beekle is an original and full of almost unimaginable wonder.
Thanks to Dan Santat for images!
Could this be the easiest craft ever? Okay, maybe not, but it’s pretty simple. Not only that, but you get to keep an adorable marshmallow Beekle around as an unimaginary friend. For real.
When I see Beekle, my mind immediately goes to marshmallows! Puffy, lovable marshmallows. (Also, while totally artificial, they smell really really good!)
Just looking at this little guy makes me smile. And remember the magic of the book. (Isn’t he sweeeeeet?)
1. Cut two toothpicks in half (remove and discard the sharp side so no one gets poked).
2. Slide a flat side of toothpick into small marshmallow; do it again with the other one.
(Again, be careful not to get poked.)
3. Insert toothpick/feet into jumbo marshmallow.
4. Draw Beekle’s face with a Sharpie.
5. Fold/cut gold paper into a crown by cutting it into a strip and cutting out triangle shapes along one edge; then fasten it together with tape.
6. Put the crown on Beekle’s head and tada!
The great thing about marshmallows is, well, they’re probably not going to rot! I’ve got my Beekle on a bookcase in my apartment and every so often I just want to give adorable Mr. Puffy a little squeeze!
*warning: this craft is not edible despite being made from marshmallows*