Becker, Aaron. 2013. JOURNEY. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763660536 [Suggested Grade Levels 1- 4]
This wordless picture book opens on a city street with a girl riding a bright red scooter. The contrast of the urban browns to the vibrant red item immediately engages the reader. The spotlighted item eventually becomes a crayon the girl uses to draw a door. Once the girl passes through the door, the world transforms into an exotic new realm. The heroine travels to vibrant, foreign lands, narrowly escaping dangers, falling into the clutches of a sinister villain, finding courage, and ultimately returning home with a new companion. All along, the trusty crayon creates transport and thrilling adventure.
The unique book grabs the attention of readers of all ages and invites multiple readings and observation. The pen, ink, and watercolor artwork is detailed and exquisite. The beginning and final pages are done in sepia tones with only the pop of primary color; the pages detailing the journey to the magical lands are rich with color and absolutely enchanting. The contrast is brilliant.
Color is vital to the story. Discuss the illustrator’s choice for different spreads. Encourage observation of the basic colors; discuss their purpose and placement. Distinct architecture styles are used. Encourage students to compare the city to the fantasy worlds. The book contains much foreshadowing. Reread and allow readers to detect the clues tucked within the illustrations. Finally, encourage children to create their own journeys allowing them to decide where they would travel with a magical crayon.
The book pays homage to classics:
Johnson, Crockett. HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON. ISBN 9780064430227
Lewis, C.S. THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. ISBN 9780060234812
Other wordless books:
Banyai, Istvan. ZOOM. ISBN 9780670858040
Staake, Bob. BLUEBIRD. ISBN 9780375870378
By Jill Bellomy