“Bean-Bean froze in ski position. He had never seen Toughie so close up.”
Author: Alexandra Salmela
Illustrator: Linda Bondestam
Finnish original: Mielikutitusystävä
Publisher: Teos, 2019
Genre: Children’s novels
Number of pages: 120 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample
Bean-Bean hates miserable Wednesdays. That is when he has to walk through the park alone, and in the park lurks Toughie.
Today things go very wrong. When Toughie bullies Bean-Bean, her essential device is broken. As a punishment, Bean-Bean’s beloved rag bird Stormbeard gets prisoned in the highest branches of a tree. Luckily, in the bus Bean-Bean bumps into a lion-maned cheetah, a genuine, living, imaginary friend. Together they hasten to save Strombeard.
The atypical adventure takes the friends into a forest to bounce on a trampoline in the appearance of fantastic fruit, and into the drains where they end up at the mercy of mutant monsters and mammoths.
Alexandra Salmela and Linda Bondestam’s book is a crazy, funny and brilliantly colourful story about the power of the imagination and the courage to be yourself – whether you are a child using words in a funny way, an elephant in mammoth’s clothing or a self-absorbed, constantly blabbering cheetah.
“I’m Cheetah,” he said.
“What do you mean, cheetah?” Bean-Bean examined the creature in wonder. Around his face flourished a magnificently thick lion’s mane. “But you look just like a lion.”
“Well?” snapped lion’s mane. “The cheetah is fastest of all. It can run a hundred and twenty kilometres an hour; it’s faster than this bus, which can go… well, round forty-two or forty-four kilometres an hour, at this moment at least, and compared to that the cheetah is three times as fast and I’m the fastest of all cheetahs. Or nearly.”