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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Journey is a picture book -- and what pictures they are. Aaron Becker's absolutely amazing illustrations need no words to feed the imagination of readers of any age as they're caught up in the adventure of the little girl and her magical red crayon. Although the premise recalls the classic Harold and the Purple Crayon, Journey is very different: It's more complex and presents a clear lesson. Happily, a clever twist at the end pays special homage to Harold.
What's the story?
A young girl escapes her lonely, sepia-tone world by drawing a door that leads into an enchanted world tinted with color, adventure, and, ultimately, friendship. She takes quite a JOURNEY in this completely wordless picture book, with her magical red crayon as the key. In a little red rowboat, she sails along the canals of a golden-domed city. In a bright-red hot-air balloon, she escapes one near-misadventure and heads toward another. Finally, she lands in a cage after an encounter with a sinister crew and an exotic purple bird, and, as the crayon falls from her hands, all seems lost. Bravery, and a little help from the loyal bird, lead her to further adventures a bit closer to home, where she finds she's not the only one with a magic crayon and an imagination.
Is it any good?
A kid brings meaning and adventure to the world using imagination and a crayon; it’s a familiar premise, but Becker's magical, complex artwork and charming story take it into new territory. He creates enchanted, imaginative backdrops galore, but it's the little girl's simple lines, the bright red of the things she draws, the bird's purple feathers, and the fascinating twist at the end that make the story.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what stories the pictures tell. With no words, Journey can become whatever adventure readers create together. Kids can tell it to parents, parents can tell it to kids, and it can change with each telling.
How does Becker use color to help tell the story? What do the sepia tones convey? How about the red crayon or the bright red of the things the little girl draws? What would have been different if she'd had a green crayon? Or a blue one?
How do you feel about books that have no words? How can an artist tell a complicated story using only illustrations? Do you like the freedom it gives you to make up your own words when you look at the book?
- Author: Aaron Becker
- Illustrator: Aaron Becker
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Candlewick Press
- Publication date: August 6, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Hardback
- Award: ALA Best and Notable Books
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.