Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Quest Book Poster Image
Visually captivating story is full of adventure, wonder.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

As in Aaron Becker's earlier book, Journey, Quest encourages readers to become the storytellers. It also offers the perfect opportunity to talk about primary and secondary colors, as well as the color wheel and how it relates to the colors of the rainbow. Also, as they pursue their quest, the kids go to several realms that are based on real civilizations. It would be fun to explore each of those a bit more.

Positive Messages

Kids can do magical things with their imaginations, especially if they work together. Boys and girls can be good friends and  bring out the best in each other. Artwork, especially drawing, is a good way to find adventure, take journeys, and have fun. A world full of color seems happier and more hopeful than one that has no rainbows. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The girl and boy each has a particular color of crayon or chalk, and each provides an important part to the solution to each problem. Their cooperative efforts help them unravel the mysteries of the map, escape danger, and succeed in their quest to save the king

Violence & Scariness

Soldiers, dressed in samurai-like armor and wielding spears, capture the king and pursue the children. But the kids always seem calm and in control even in dangerous situations. Nothing really to worry about. 


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Quest is the second wordless adventure in the planned trilogy by Aaron Becker that began with his Caldecott Medal book Journey. In that book, the two chalk-wielding lonely kids, both creative and curious, find each other and become friends. In this second book, they undertake quite an adventure and show what can happen when two imaginative people work together. Even without words, Becker's breathtakingly beautiful pen-and-ink drawings with watercolor illustrations are more than enough to tell a detailed story that's as engrossing as it is full of wonder. 

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What's the story?

When two friends duck under an overpass to get out of the rain, they're surprised when an orange-robed king suddenly steps out of a secret door and hands them a map and a piece of orange chalk just before he's whisked back into the portal by hostile soldiers. Using the magic of their drawings, the girl with her red chalk and the boy with his purple, draw their way through the secret portal and into several remarkable realms as they unravel the mystery of the map, face danger and pursuit, and try to rescue the king and his kingdom.

Is it any good?

Becker's wordless narratives are amazing. What he does with pen-and-ink and watercolor not only creates action, intrigue, and adventure but also expresses a subtlety of emotion, all within a world of wonder and endless possibility. The more time readers spend poring over the details of the drawings, the more they will love his books.

The first book in this trilogy, Journey, won Caldecott honors, and Quest is as good -- or maybe even better. Readers who liked the first book will love the second, and they'll be excited that at least one more wordless adventure is promised.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they think is happening as they pore over the amazing details on each page. Don't be surprised if each person sees something different and has his or her own interpretation of what's going on ... and what will happen next.


  • Most things related to the hostile empire are done in sepia tones, but every once in a while an item is touched with gold -- the bird cage, for example. Why do you think author-illustrator Aaron Becker chose to add a little color here and there? How does it affect what you look at in the picture? What does it add to the story?

  • How does this book compare with Journey? Do you like one better than the other? What do you think the third book in the trilogy will be about? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and adventure

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