The Journey by Sarah Stewart, David Small |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Journey
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The Journey

by Sarah Stewart, David Small

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A new heroine to win readers' hearts, joining the ranks of Lydia Grace Finch and Elizabeth Brown


Dear Diary

The luckiest girl on this good earth is writing to you tonight -- my birthday -- made perfect a few minutes ago by the present of a lace handkerchief. Mother had even hidden a tiny cake in her suitcase! I've never been


A new heroine to win readers' hearts, joining the ranks of Lydia Grace Finch and Elizabeth Brown


Dear Diary

The luckiest girl on this good earth is writing to you tonight -- my birthday -- made perfect a few minutes ago by the present of a lace handkerchief. Mother had even hidden a tiny cake in her suitcase! I've never been higher than Aunt Clara's porch, or farther than Yooder's General Store, but this week my dream is coming true. I'm finally in a big city! And more, I've escaped the farm and chores! After spending the morning quietly in our room, Mother, her friend Maggie, and I went to the top of one of the tallest buildings in the world. How can I ever thank Aunt Clara for giving me her place on this trip? Well, I'm sure to find a gift for her by the end of the week. But for now, perhaps I'll dream of Aunt Clara and home.

Until tomorrow,
my silent friend,
good night.

Beginning in the dark hours of morning, an Amish girl, along with two adult companions, sets off for the big city for the first time. The reader receives nightly reports through young Hannah's diary, in which, with tireless awe, she relates the significant events of the day. Each experience is decidedly new to Hannah -- a trip to the top of a skyscraper, a visit to the aquarium -- yet in each she finds some universal element that reminds her of home. Though she loves the city, a trip to the art museum on the final day of her visit clinches Hannah's longing for family and familiarity; fortunately, the bus is ready to take her back to the place she loves most.

Sarah Stewart's text has the authentic ring of a smart girl's private thoughts, and David Small's pictures are magnificent.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“An Amish girl makes her first visit to a city . . . in another graceful and understated work by the collaborators of the Caldecott Honor book, The Gardener . . . Spills(s) over with a contagious enthusiasm.” —Starred, Boxed, Publishers Weekly
Karen Carden
Not all travel requires airplanes. In the case of A Journey, by wife-and-husband team Sarah Stewart and David Small, the trip is accomplished by a horse and buggy and a bus. Hannah, a young Amish girl, boards a bus to Chicago for her very first visit. She records her thoughts and experiences in a diary - her silent friend - and these entries become the text of the story. Stewart's tale captures Hannah's awe of and interest in the big city, and at the same time chronicles her longing for home. Small's loose ink-and-watercolor illustrations depict each day's busy activities, but every one of these pages is followed by a large, wordless double-page spread of Hannah's farm life. The visual pacing is superb, and it creates an affectionate balance between exciting travel and a comforting home.
The Christian Science Monitor
Publishers Weekly
An Amish girl visits the big city for the first time and recounts the day's activities, comparing them to life back home. In a starred review, PW said, "Readers will feel as though they have made a fast friend in this likable young heroine." Ages 5-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
HAn Amish girl makes her first visit to a city (Chicago, in this case) in another graceful and understated work by the collaborators of the Caldecott Honor book, The Gardener. In daily entries, Hannah addresses her diary as "my silent friend," as she excitedly recounts the day's activities and compares them to life back home. Each reference inspires the illustration that appears on the succeeding wordless spread --a scene from her rural hometown. Like her heroine, Stewart wastes no words; a simplicity and economy inform the prose. Small effectively depicts the spare, serene Amish lifestyle and, using a more subdued palette and a simpler line than in his previous work, effectively underscores the sharp contrast between the two settings. In one particularly engaging juxtaposition, Hannah describes a visit to a store. "I was staring at some strange dresses when a saleswoman suddenly held one up to my shoulders," she writes, then wonders if, at home, her Aunt Clara has finished stitching Hannah's dress. The accompanying illustration shows a store clerk holding up a red and white polka-dot party dress in a glittering shop dominated by elegantly clad mannequins. A turn of the page reveals Hannah's recollection of standing barefoot in her aunt's stark sewing room, holding up a simple blue shift. Another strong visual segue concludes this exceptional title and brings home its themes: On her final day in the city, Hannah gazes at one of Monet's paintings of haystacks in a museum and admits in her journal "how much I've missed [Aunt Clara] and my pony and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa and my sisters and brothers." Strong likenesses of the haystacks appear on the following spread, as the bus carrying Hannah and her mother home passes by a dusk-shrouded field. (Observant youngsters may notice that in Small's aerial view of the family's home and barn, found on the endpapers, these two buildings bear a resemblance to those in the background of Monet's painting.) As affecting as the book's graphics, Hannah's candid journal entries, filled with a wide-eyed wonder of the city, spill over with a contagious enthusiasm ("I feel like happiness has rushed up and grabbed me from behind"). Her trip to the city only seems to deepen her appreciation for her family's way of life. Readers will feel as though they have made a fast friend in this likable young heroine. They will not easily forget her. All ages. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Young Hannah has never been "higher than Aunt Clara's porch, or farther than Yoder's General Store" in the Amish countryside. But her aunt has given her the chance to go with her mother to spend a week in Chicago. A greater contrast can hardly be imagined than that between her quiet life on the farm and the hectic pace of the city. Each night, Hannah briefly summarizes for her "silent friend," her diary, the excitement and adventure of the day, without omitting a thought for what is happening back home. The double-page illustration accompanying each diary page is alive with the action observed by our modestly garbed trio, along with a black line sketch of Hannah herself writing in the diary. On the following double page spread, textless, is an image of the related activity back on the farm. The view of the city atop "one of the tallest buildings," the fancy shops, a ride around the park in a horse and buggy after a daring rescue, the aquarium, and a cathedral, all delight her while provoking Hannah's thoughts. A painting in the museum even moves her to tears. But her thoughts return always loving to home. She wants to get a special gift for Aunt Clara but decided that "maybe the best gift to bring back home is just myself." Small begins the visual narrative on the jacket, depicting a starry night with a lantern illuminating the loading of a wagon. The front end-papers show a more distant view of the wagon leaving the farm. The title page continues the journey down a tree-lined path, to a textless double page of dawn breaking at the boarding of the Chicago-bound bus. The copyright and other information is displayed like a poster on a brick wall in the double-page, textless scene of thewomen entering a hotel beneath Chicago's elevated subway train tracks. Finally, we are ready for Hannah's diary entries. The loosely painted scenes fill the large double pages with the tourist sites made special by the inclusion of the three black-bonneted women. Small's color helps evoke the excitement of splashing fountains and the spirituality of "a great cathedral." The alternating scenes are, by contrast, less impressive but more intimate in their color and their depiction of friends and family engaged back home in the life to which Hannah will return. Her tears recalling the haystacks hint of her desire to go home. The final end-papers are both a reprise of the front and a reinforcement of her feelings as a crowd welcomes the returning travelers home. The story, textually simple but visually rich, stands on its own, but it can also provoke discussion on the Amish ways, contrasting our with their life styles and choices. 2001, Farrar Straus & Giroux, 40 pages,
— Ken and Sylvia Marantz
Children's Literature
Hannah, a young Amish girl, tells the story of her first trip to the big city from her family farm through innocent, excited nightly entries in her diary. Her wide-eyed impressions of Chicago through Stewart's words are beautifully augmented by Small's illustrated comments—a worldly department store juxtaposed with the simple sewing room back on the farm; the wonders of the aquarium set against real community fishing; and, most artfully, Monet's haystacks exhibited at the Chicago Art Institute compared with real haystacks on Amish fields. The husband and wife team have achieved perfect rapport in this story. Sarah Stewart's commentary catches young Hannah's enthusiasm over the wider world while keeping the girl perfectly content with her own life. Meanwhile, David Small just keeps getting better and better. His Chicago views have the wit of Hilary Knight's work for Eloise, while his Amish images are filled with the warmth of home. The result is a lovely book. 2001, Farrar Straus Giroux, $16.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Sarah Stewart's thought-provoking picture book (Farrar, 2001) is well-treated in this book/tape combination. Hannah is a young Amish girl on her first visit to the big city-Chicago. The story is told in diary entries that chronicle her great adventure with illustrations showing city life. These alternate with untexted double-page spreads of the simple Amish life that continues while Hannah is away. The female narrator, Daisy Egan, reads the diary entries in an expressive, girlish voice that aptly suits the main character. Background music enhances the production and, on the untexted pages, provides mood music as readers are given time to scan David Small's exquisite illustrations. This is a touching, evocative story that talks of venturing forth into new worlds and discovering new things, while recognizing the heart-held worth of home and heritage.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick

"I'm finally in a big city! And more, I've escaped the farm and chores!" writes a young Amish girl in her diary during a trip to Chicago. Lyrical watercolors and Hannah's awestruck musings contrast the wonder and excitement of bustling city life with the simple pleasures of her pastoral Amish community. In the end, however, she discovers the old adage proves true: There's no place like home.

Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.09(w) x 11.73(h) x 0.15(d)
680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt


Dear Diary

Meet the Author

Husband and wife duo Sarah Stewart and David Small have worked together on several picture books, including The Gardener, a Caldecott Honor book available from Square Fish. Small has also illustrated other books, including the 2001 Caldecott Medal winner So You Want to Be President?, by Judith St. George. Stewart and Small live in a historic home on a bend of the St. Joseph River in Michigan.

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