Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Journey Book Poster Image
Enchanting art, wordless fantasy lead kids to tell story.

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Having no words, Journey encourages the reader to be the storyteller. Kids can use their own imaginations to tell what's going on in the magical drawings. 

Positive Messages

Using your imagination, you can find creative ways to fight loneliness. By helping others, you may find the best kind of friends. When friends help friends, the world's a better place. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The plucky little girl is brave, adventurous, virtuous, and resourceful. She explores the enchanted world that opens before her, risks her life to free a trapped bird, and figures out how to use her imagination and the red crayon to make her world one of beauty and friendship.

Violence & Scariness

The soldiers on the floating ship have weapons, capture the magical purple bird, chase the little girl when she falls through the air, and put her in a cage. She takes another plunge through the air when her boat goes over a waterfall but saves herself. Nothing's gory or bloody, but the situations may scare some kids.


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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant and 1-year-old Written byBatfan7 May 27, 2017

Beautiful and fun

First, this is a wordless book, so a "reader" has to make up their own words to this story (if reading it aloud, which I am doing with my kids). But t... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

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? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Picture books and fantasy

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate