Saturday, January 23, 2016


My young son loves The Adventures of Beekle: the Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat.

And, for the first time, I'm going to be completely honest about why.

It's not the stunning artwork. It's not the incredible multi-layered story. It's not that I was a member of the committee that awarded it the Caldecott Medal. (WHY NOT??!! WHY ISN'T IT ANY OF THESE THINGS???!!)

It's the fact that you can see Beekle's butt.

Now, the casual reader probably only saw this Beekle butt, the main event.

But the true, careful observer can find a lot more than that with a little patience.

Here is a tiny Beekle climbing the tree.

We also get a glimpse at Beekle's tuckus as he hands the paper to Alice, and in a later stylized version.

And it's the final image- on the back cover, as well as under the jacket.

Over the years, I have seen a number of posterior-related titles, starting with Captain Underpants, and in recent years titles such as Chicken Butt by Erica Perl and Veggies with Wedgies by Todd Doodler have crossed my desk. My son thinks these are brilliant works of art. They make him laugh harder than any other books on our shelf. Seriously.

The 2015 Caldecott committee set several records. The most honor books. The first graphic novel. And also, if you were paying attention, the first Caldecott Medal book (that I know of) featuring a butt. My kids are the proudest of this record.

Caldebutt scholars may argue for the inclusion of No, David! by David Shannon (featuring full nudity, no less!), In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak and King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood which certainly hints, if doesn't downright show anything. Those are honor books, and I'm talking about Medal books.

Now, Travis Jonker has pointed out, that to some, there is now a second Caldecott Medal winner that features a butt. This one is on the cover, no less. (I see knees). Look at Travis' post for more.

Thank you to Travis, for his post, that freed me emotionally to write this one, and to Angela Reynolds, my fellow Caldecott committee member, for the truly awesome title.

And, whatever the reason, I'm glad my son loves Beekle; no ifs, ands, or butts.

UPDATE: Alas, the 2015 Caldecott committee did not set the Caldebutt record after all. There's a great porcine posterior image in David Wiesner's Caldecott Medal book The Three Pigs. Who pointed this out? My son, of course.


  1. This is a wonderfully refreshing post! We need to remember what makes children laugh.

  2. So true! Before I even got started reading Beekle for the first time to a Kinder class I was holding the book in such a way as only the back cover was showing and everyone started giggling and pointing, exclaiming, "look at his cute butt!" They all loved it, through and through. Great pick, for so many reasons, including this one!

  3. Hahaha! Oh, butts. Kids love 'em. :D