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Journey

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Overview

A 2014 Caldecott Honor Book

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.

A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain ...

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Overview

A 2014 Caldecott Honor Book

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.

A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

A 2014 Caldecott Honor Book
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2013

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
…a masterwork…Though [it] will make you think of Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon, Becker's book has a beauty distinctly its own.
Publishers Weekly
Becker develops concepts for film studios, and his wordless picture book debut reads like a cinematic tribute to Harold and the Purple Crayon. Drab sepia drawings introduce a lonely girl whose afternoon is jolted into life (and full color) when she uses a piece of red chalk to draw a door on her wall, walking through it into a lantern-lit forest with a winding river. Drawing a red boat, she drifts toward a breathtaking castle city whose gleaming turrets and domes promise adventure and intrigue. Yet she does not linger—she draws a hot-air balloon, takes to the air, and encounters a squadron of magnificent, steampunk-style airships manned by soldiers who have trapped a phoenix-like bird. Her release of the bird earns the ire of the airmen, the bird in turn rescues her, and a clever resolution leads the girl to a friend with his own magic chalk. Wonder mixes with longing as the myriad possibilities offered by Becker’s stunning settings dwarf what actually happens in the story. Readers will be both dazzled and spurred on imagined travels of their own. Ages 4–8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
A masterwork.
—The New York Times

An imaginative adventure story whose elaborate illustrations inspire wonder, careful examination and multiple reads.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Wonder mixes with longing as the myriad possibilities offered by Becker’s stunning settings dwarf what actually happens in the story. Readers will be both dazzled and spurred on imagined travels of their own.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

[An] auspicious debut... [a] captivating wordless story... The strong visual narrative makes this an appealing choice for a wide range of ages. By the turn of the last page, children will immediately begin imagining the next adventure.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

We live in a time with a lot of flash and beep and tweets. Mr. Becker has made a beautiful reminder that there are times we need to turn it off. Sometimes we need a book, some quiet, and our imagination. It's so well done.
—Erin Stead, 2011 Caldecott Medal Winner for A Sick Day for Amos McGee

I fell into this breathtaking adventure and didn't want to leave. This is a book of extraordinary magic and beauty.
—Julie "Jules" Danielson, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

First-time author Becker sweeps readers away on the very best kind of journey, allowing a complex color scheme, intricate fantasy environments, and a stirring sense of adventure to tell the story without a single word. ... Laudable for its adventuresome female protagonist, scope, and sense of fun, this title will draw girls and boys back to it again and again.
—Booklist (starred review)

Dreamlike... Like Harold and his purple crayon before her, the child discovers that she can use a crayon to make an imaginative escape -- and what an escape it is! ... Dazzling.
—The Wall Street Journal

[A] wordless tour de force... Completely original. ... Becker's breathtaking urban and bucolic scenes map out a visual narrative that reflects the girl's journey--both external and internal. ... Here's hoping there's more to come from this talented newcomer.
—Shelf Awareness for Readers (starred review)

With this wordless tour de force, Aaron Becker gives a nod to the likes of Crockett Johnson and Shaun Tan--but in a completely original work. … Becker's breathtaking urban and bucolic scenes map out a visual narrative that reflects the girl's journey--both external and internal. By the conclusion, readers see that all she needs is a likeminded friend. Here's hoping there's more to come from this talented newcomer.
—Twenty by Jenny

This absolutely gorgeous wordless picture book is a testament to the skill of author/illustrator Aaron Becker. As Journey ends, you'll want to immediately return to the beginning to experience it again.
—NPR Books

Becker's wordless masterpiece is both timely and timeless, drawing inspiration from the classic "Harold and the Purple Crayon" to draw the reader into an entirely new and beautifully-rendered world.
—The Huffington Post

Talk about making your own adventure! ... [E]xtraordinary kindness and a couple of crayons produce an ending so original and satisfying you can’t but shake your head and smile. This gorgeous, wordless book is a gem.
—Redbook

[A]n absolutely magical tale... Becker's picture book is one of the finest get-lost-in-your-own-imagination tales of loneliness, escape, adventure, and, ultimately, new friendship that I've read in quite some time.
—USA Today Online

Becker launches readers into a wordless adventure amid exotic lands and narrow escapes—thanks to the bright red marker-wielding heroine. Think Crockett Johnston’s ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ crossed with Neil Gaiman’s ‘Stardust.’ A lonely girl steps from her black-and-white world into a vast, colorful journey. Some stories, including this one, don’t need words to fire the imagination.
—The Boston Globe

With its fine attention to detail and jaw-dropping storyline, Becker has created a modern day classic in the midst of an overpopulated genre. ... I don’t get to use this word very often when I’m talking about books for young children but I’m going to dust it off and use it now: Beautiful. There’s no other way to describe Journey.
—Betsy Bird, A Fuse #8 Production (SLJ Blog)

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Becker takes us on an enchanting wordless journey. A young girl contemplates her bright red scooter on the steps of her monochromatic house in the monochromatic city where her mother, father, and sister are otherwise occupied, too busy for her. Spying a red crayon on her floor, she draws herself a bright red door through which she enters a lantern-lit lush green forest. Her crayon produces a red boat to sail down a river to a magical city. Drawing a red balloon takes her from danger up to the sky and to an incredible flying machine. There she sets a captured purple bird free and is on to more adventure on a red flying carpet, following the bird to an amazing happy ending. The detailed naturalistic scenes are produced with pen-and-ink and muted watercolors; only the vehicles that carry the young adventurer to a fairy tale world are crimson, while some roofs are golden or blue. Small, faint drawings of different vehicles fill the red end pages. On the jacket, our heroine approaches a stone castle in her red boat, while the black cover is decorated only with a blind stamped hot air balloon. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—In this auspicious debut picture book, a lonely girl escapes the boredom of a sepia-toned world by drawing a doorway to a magical realm. Harkening back to Crockett Johnson's Harold, this child uses a red crayon and a lot of imagination to venture across a Venice-like kingdom, fly among a fleet of steampunk airships, and take off on a magic carpet ride. When an act of compassion and bravery lands the heroine in a cage, it's her magic crayon and a bit of help from a new friend that save the day. This captivating wordless story has all the elements of a classic adventure: unknown lands, death-defying stunts, and a plucky lead. Finely detailed pen-and-ink line drawings combine with luminous washes of watercolor to create a rich and enchanting setting. Becker builds a sense of suspense by varying colorful full-page spreads with smaller vignettes that feature the girl and her red crayon surrounded by ample white space. The final page shows the youngster and her new friend riding a tandem bicycle pointing onward. Endpapers spotlight all manner of transportation: ships, trains, cars, and even space shuttles. The strong visual narrative makes this an appealing choice for a wide range of ages. By the turn of the last page, children will immediately begin imagining the next adventure.—Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Ignored by her digitally distracted family, a girl draws a red door on her bedroom wall and steps through. A lush green forest twinkles with lanterns and strung lights; a dizzying castle towers, its gates, turrets and halls linked by complicated waterways; a hovering aircraft festooned with propellers and wheels holds an imprisoned purple-plumed bird. Amid these marvels, the girl appears markedly ordinary with her common pageboy haircut, minimal facial features and simple clothes. She could be anyone, really, and readers will easily appropriate her journey as their own. Putty-colored grays and flat, boxy city shapes defined the girl's urban reality, but here, color rules, modulating from mossy greens to slate blues to dusky purple--all punctuated with her crayon's brilliant red and the yellow of a golden bird cage. White pages highlight action (the girl's crayon whips up a boat, a hot air balloon and a magic carpet when needed), but most spreads deliver fantastically intricate pen, ink and watercolor architectural illustrations that remain playfully engrossing. They conjure contextual questions with no clear answers, or perhaps with so many answers one's imagination finds itself opening door upon door and crossing thresholds, just as the girl did to escape loneliness. After freeing the bird, she needs its help for a quick escape through a small purple door back to her everyday street and back to a boy who wields an equally powerful purple crayon (an obvious and moving homage). An imaginative adventure story whose elaborate illustrations inspire wonder, careful examination and multiple reads. (Picture book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763660536
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/6/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 613
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Aaron Becker has worked as an artist for such film studios as Lucasfilm, Disney, and Pixar, where he helped define the look and feel of characters, stories, and the movies they become a part of. With Journey, he has created characters and worlds of his very own, using traditional materials and techniques. Aaron Becker lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, daughter, and cat. This is his first book.

"I’ve made several memorable journeys in my lifetime. I’ve lived in rural Japan and East Africa and backpacked through the South Pacific and Sweden. But to this day, my favorite destination remains my imagination, where you can often find me drawing secret doorways and magic lanterns." — Aaron Becker

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2013

    A beautiful book with illustrations that create a Miyazaki-like

    A beautiful book with illustrations that create a Miyazaki-like world of adventure. There is no text in the book, but that did not take away from the story at all. I highly recommend to children and adults alike. 

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 27, 2014

    JOURNEY is a wordless picture book, so there is no text to write

    JOURNEY is a wordless picture book, so there is no text to write about, but there very much is a story. And the story is wonderful.  It's pretty simple: A young girl feels ignored by her family, so she creates a door to her own adventure.  I don't see this as an indictment against her family in any way; I see this as showing the benefit of allowing children to get bored so that they will use their imagination. 
    This book does pay homage to several books, most obviously Harold and the Purple Crayon, but I also saw traces of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth, 1001 Arabian Nights, and just about anything that Jules Verne wrote.  The homage feels almost like a love letter to the fantastic children's literature of the past.
    The artwork in this book is heart-stoppingly beautiful.  It is marvelous and magical.  It is enchanting and engaging.  It is accessible and just plain awesome.  This was Aaron Becker's first book.  I can't wait to see what he does next.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I¿ll create myself an adventure and it will start right here in

    I’ll create myself an adventure and it will start right here in my bedroom. It will encompass a castle, a hot-air balloon, and a magic carpet. Did I forget to tell you that in my adventure I will be captured, that I nearly fall off a waterfall, that I will make friends with a special bird and that I created this adventure using a special marker? It’s a grand adventure, one that is written without words so that you, the reader can add to the drama as the pages are turned. I draw with my red marker just like Harold and his Purple Crayon did in his books, only on my pages there are some pictures that accompanying my drawings. So if you’re up to it, help me create an adventure.
    I liked the illustrations that are contrasted with her red marker. There is plenty to look at in the illustrations and as a reader; you could make up a few different stories by looking at the pictures. The bird is bright purple and that part of the book could have many different stories attached to it, if you think about it. I was disturbed with a detail in a couple of the pictures, as it shows a gun. I understand why it was there but it was something that concerned me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2014

    I bought this book for someone that never reads, and I thought s

    I bought this book for someone that never reads, and I thought she might like getting a book without words since she doesn't really enjoy
    reading. She told me that this book made her cry and that it was beautiful, and she loved it! I highly recommend this book, it's a great
    story that doesn't really need words because the illustrations are so impressive.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 20, 2014

    I was drawn to this book and purchased it for my 30 year old dau

    I was drawn to this book and purchased it for my 30 year old daughter... This was a story that she could have told. Her imagination was always vivid and full of life. She was delighted when she found this tucked into a box I sent for Easter. Wonder wonder illustrations that will take you wherever you want to go. Enjoy!

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  • Posted February 12, 2014

    It's a keeper!  Delightful to watch my 4yo study the pictures an

    It's a keeper!  Delightful to watch my 4yo study the pictures and explain the story to me.  On the practical side...he loves that he can "read" this story by himself and I often find him holed up with it. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    Just stunning!  What a great way for children to retell a story

    Just stunning!  What a great way for children to retell a story using their imagination and making their own inferences.  This will become a children's classic. 

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  • Posted January 3, 2014

    Outstanding!

    This book has a wonderful story told in amazing illustrations. I am sure it will be receiving more awards in the future. It already has the NYTimes Best Illustrated Children's Book Award. I kept sharing this book with everyone I knew from co-workers to children. The story gets better and better with each read as more details unfold. It will be a family treasure.

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  • Posted December 13, 2013

    This book is a Must for every child's library!

    This book allows your child to explore a world of fantasy and adventure through their own point of view without the distraction of another's words.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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