This is the touching and beautifully-illustrated story of the unexpected meeting of two boys, one human and one robot, and their instant love. Together the boys look forward to the promise of fun, adventure, pirates and treasure.
Sneezle Beezle is written in a quirky, bouncy rhyme that is amusing to children and fun for parents to read.
“Sneezle Beezle, he runs on diesel” was written by Bruce Laybourn for his son Dylan, who was abducted from his home in New Zealand to Turkey in 2007 when just four months-old.
In a reverse of what happened to Dylan, Sneezle Beezle, journeys to New Zealand for an apparently ordained adventurous life with Dylan.
In the years after his abduction to Istanbul, Bruce and Dylan had difficulty communicating as both had little knowledge of the other’s first language.
Stories that intrigued Dylan were a sure way to ensure his English improved so father and son could talk to one another.
Having devoured every English book he had crammed into his suitcase, Bruce decided to create his own stories for his little boy. Dylan particularly loved the stories where he was a principal character.
Sneezle Beezle has now become much more than a child’s imaginary friend. Dylan helped his dad create the character of Sneezle Beezle, even selecting the preferred “Sneezle” from the many submitted by illustrators from around the world who took part in an international competition to create an “impossibly endearing robot boy.”
Dylan’s favourite Sneezle Beezle was created by Vincent de Jong, a New Zealand-based illustrator whose travels gave him an intimate knowledge of both the spiritual beginnings of the little robot boy in the Himalayas and the “Island of Zed” (New Zealand), the perfect location from which Sneezle Beezle and Dylan will embark on riveting adventures together.
Auckland-based Rowena Bahl was the art director for the project, working closely with author and illustrator to ensure the story flowed flawlessly. Her drive for perfection was matched by her desire for complex illustrations, big pictures with intriguing detail to draw in and fascinate young, exploring minds.
Now six-years-old, Dylan is fluent in English but still loves his dad’s stories. He is now working with Bruce on the second book, “Sneezle Beeze, the Secret Scroll”, in which the boys unravel a mystery involving the Pacific’s last real life pirate, Captain Bully Hayes, who voyaged the New Zealand coast aboard his brigantine, “The Black Diamond.”
Sneezle Beezle is a thoroughly modern robot boy, having his own website www.sneezlebeezle.com and his own Facebook page.
Dylan’s abduction in 2007 made headlines in both New Zealand and Turkey, with New Zealand Prime Minister at the time, Helen Clark, making a direct appeal to the Turkish Prime Minister for the Hague Convention on Child Abduction to be upheld.
Dylan’s plight was highlighted in a “60 Minutes” special in 2008 which featured film of Bruce’s attempts to see his son that involved a clash with an armed trio who attempted to place he and Dylan under house arrest.
Fox TV in Turkey carried a lead news story the same year about Dylan that included a segment of him doing the haka (Maori war challenge), hugely popular in Turkey as a result of Gallipoli ceremonies featuring New Zealand soldiers. As a result, Bruce and Dylan were often stopped on Istanbul streets by Turks supporting their determination to be together.
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