The Traveler

The Traveler

by Daren Simkin, Daniel Simkin

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A charming fable that evokes a life lesson we would all do well to learn: living and loving are time well spent.

Once, there was a boy named Charlie. He had a pretty nice life . . . but it wasn't perfect. So one day he packed up all his time—all his round, squishy years and square, mushy months, down to every itsy-bitsy second—in his suitcase and locked it up safe, said goodbye to his parents, and set off to find something better to spend his time on. Charlie traveled all over the world in search of the perfect thing to make him happy, but that turned out to be much harder to find than he thought. In the meantime, his itsybitsy seconds and silky, smooth hours and raggedy days ticked away and vanished, and soon they added up to weeks and months and years—so that once Charlie stopped his traveling and realized what he really needed out of life, it was almost too late. Almost.

Every so often, a book comes along that seems to capture an important truth for a particular time and generation. This is one of those books: a unique story about the relentless search for perfect happiness that preoccupies so many of us.


The Traveler stemmed from something I heard over dinner, the evening before I embarked on a drive from Boston to Los Angeles: "We only have so much time to give." I don't remember the comment's context, but its phrasing struck me. I thought about it literally as I packed for my trip . . . If you can give time, you can keep time—or save time, too; why would anyone do that? And if time is a form of currency, I wonder what it looks like . . . I quickly decided on the story's basic premise: a boy, not content with his life, decides to pack up his time and leave home in search of something perfect to spend it on. The next morning I pushed off from Boston and headed west. Days later, immediately upon my arrival in Los Angeles, I sat down and wrote The Traveler.


In addition to being my older brother, Daniel is a fantastic artist, and I'm so glad he agreed to be the lead on the huge task of illustrating The Traveler. We've figured out a fun and collaborative working arrangement: first, we share our ideas on what sort of illustration we're looking for—we consider the role it will play in plot and thematic development, and, of course, the aesthetic appeal—then we draw up preliminary sketches. Once they're completed, we discuss these crude images and, after selecting the best concepts from each, Daniel takes over. He ties together our rough ideas, meliorates them, adds more of his own, and magically creates an illustration. We critique it together, then Daniel continues to develop and hone the illustration until we're happy with the result.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429961738
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 11/25/2008
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 48
File size: 670 KB

About the Author

DAREN SIMKIN lives part of the year in Los Angeles and part of the year wherever his curiosity takes him. DANIEL SIMKIN has enjoyed drawing as long as he can remember. He works as an engineer and resides in the Washington, D.C., area. The Traveler is their first book.

DAREN SIMKIN and Daniel Simkin are brothers and the authors of The Traveler. Daren lives part of the year in Los Angeles and part of the year wherever his curiosity takes him.

DAREN SIMKIN and DANIEL SIMKIN are brothers and this is their first book. Daniel has enjoyed drawing for as long as he can remember. He works as an engineer and currently resides in the Washington, D.C., area.

Read an Excerpt

The Traveler

By Daren Simkin

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 2008 Daren Simkin
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-6173-8


Once there was a boy named Charlie. His mom and dad loved him very much. He had lots of friends to play with, including a girl with a pretty smile, and a dog who took him on walks all around.

But Charlie wasn't quite happy, because his life didn't seem perfect. After all, his parents made him do chores his friends broke his toys sometimes, and even his dog twice gave him fleas.

So one day, Charlie had an idea. He climbed up to the attic and pulled out a suitcase. It was heavy with strong buckles and could hold a great deal of something important. Charlie dusted it off and lugged it back to his room.

"What's the suitcase for, Charlie?" his mom and dad asked. "I'm going to pack up all my time," Charlie said, "and I'm going to travel until I find something perfect to spend it on." "Are you sure?" his parents asked, worried. "Yes," said Charlie.

And pack up his time he did: starting with his big, bulky decades, then the round, squishy years, the square, mushy months, triangular, shiny weeks and raggedy days, tons of silky, smooth hours and crumpled-up minutes. Charlie squeezed in loads of itsy-bitsy seconds for the journey, too, even though they didn't seem to want to go. He closed his suitcase and pulled the straps tight.


Excerpted from The Traveler by Daren Simkin. Copyright © 2008 Daren Simkin. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Traveler 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
bragan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A tiny little fable about a boy who packs up his time in a suitcase until he finds something to spend it on. Kind of a cute little book, but it's really just one big, obvious moral-to-the-story. Might be good for kids.
jb70 More than 1 year ago
Summary: This is a fable about a boy named Charlie who decides to pack up all of his time in a suitcase until he can find what he really wants to spend it on. He travels all over the globe looking for what he wants to spend his time on until he finally decides to go home. When he opens up his suitcase he finds out that he only has about a month of time left, he spent the rest of it searching for the perfect place to be while all his friends spent their time having fun, working at jobs and being happy. Thoughts: I can see a lot of truth in this fable which is also illustrated by the brother of the author. So often instead of focusing on what is good about today we tend to look towards the future for something better. It is really a lesson on living in the moment and enjoying the here and now rather than waiting for everything to be perfect. You need to find the perfect in what you have and be happy, not to say you can't work towards making the parts of your life you dislike or are unhappy about better but if that is all you focus on ultimately you will never be happy. Smile more and find joy. Always a good idea!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bimbo More than 1 year ago
my english teacher read the book to me and i really liked it. i alsoo liked all the pictures and the story is lovely i i really recommend this book =)
MBWinters More than 1 year ago
It is a great story and easy read. A book for everyone..