Journey Book Poster Image




Enchanting art, wordless fantasy lead kids to tell story.

What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable

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

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
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.   

Families can talk 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

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
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Available on:Hardback
Award:ALA Best and Notable Books

This review of Journey was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Underwater fantasy world revealed in magical watercolors.
  • Retold fable with out-of-this-world art; a true keepsake.
  • Striking, vibrant tale of friendship, bullying, and loss.

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Family Media Agreement