Review of Journey

Journey
by Aaron Becker; illus. by the author
Primary     Candlewick     40 pp.
8/13     978-0-7636-6053-6     $15.99

In the tradition of Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon (rev. 10/55), this wordless story shows a bored young girl  living in a monochromatic world who is able to draw herself into other worlds with the help of a red crayon she finds on her bedroom floor. Unlike Harold, the worlds she enters into are lush and detailed — a deep green forest with blue hanging lanterns, an elaborate castle with an intricate canal system for transportation, a multilevel steampunk airship carrying ominous soldiers, and a walled city in the desert. There are dangers she avoids by drawing herself new forms of transportation, including a hot-air balloon and a magic carpet, and she gets pulled into a rescue mission involving a purple bird, which eventually leads her to a door in a palm tree that takes her back to her own world and to a boy with a purple crayon she had never even noticed outside her apartment building when the story began. He, it seems, had been searching for the purple bird. There is much to pore over in the watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations, and when the boy and girl ride off together at the end on a tandem bicycle with one red wheel and one purple wheel, readers will want to follow them.

From the September/October 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Kathleen T. Horning
Kathleen T. Horning
Kathleen T. Horning is the director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, a library of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books and teaches a popular online course for ALSC on the history of the Newbery and Caldecott medals.
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