Book Reviews Picture Books

Journey by Aaron Becker

You all know I love a good wordless picture book. And Journey is a GOOD wordless picture book. Actually, it’s a great wordless picture book.

I reserved this from the library after my librarian friend Jen recommended it on Twitter, but didn’t get around to opening it until a week or so later. And then, when Ella finally picked it from the library basket, we both just sort of gaped in delight at this amazing, beautiful book.

It is absolutely magical. Click right over to your library this MINUTE and request a copy (I apologize for my bossiness, but sometimes (always) my oldest childness pushes its way to the top. I’m sure Merrick and Landen would be happy to commiserate with you).

The first few pages are all sepia tones, with a little girl slumped on the front stoop of her city apartment. Inside, you can see her mom in the kitchen on the phone, her dad at the computer, and her sister playing a video game. None of them have time to play.

So she heads up to her room, where, in the midst of all these shades of brown, is a bright red marker on the floor. She draws a door on her wall (by now, we’ve read this enough times that Ella always says on this page, “Do we draw on the wall? NO, we do NOT draw on the wall”), opens the door, and steps into a magical, full-color place.

The contrast between those pages of sepia and this full color forest is so breathtaking, I almost couldn’t speak when I turned the page. It is glorious. And the adventure is only beginning.

I particularly love a picture book that loops back to the beginning – where you feel like the book has really come full circle, and this one does it marvelously. I read it to our little preschool group on Tuesday and they all stopped their 3-year-old bouncing and wiggling and were riveted to the page.

This book has all the magic and detail and fun of David Wiesner’s best books (and I cannot imagine I’m the first person to make that comparison). Of course I loved every page.

Seriously, go get this book (have I mentioned that before?). I hope it snags itself a gold or silver sticker come January.

P.S. You can watch the trailer for the book below. It’s perfect – giving the flavor of the book without giving away all the secrets hiding inside:

Copy checked out from my local library

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  • Reply april September 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Done and done. My kids don't like "telling me the story" and won't pretend read books to me (now that Spencer's reading on his own, he'll actually read the words but that's it). I put it on hold immediately – maybe it will bring out their imagination.

  • Reply Amy September 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    This is sitting on the library hold shelf at this very moment just waiting for me to pick it up. I think we'll put that at the top of our priority list for the day! I just hope I'm not disappointed! That book has been talked up more than any other picture book this year.

  • Reply Ali September 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I love your love for children's books- I totally relate. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Reply Katie September 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Apparently my library isn't cool enough for this book! You'd think with 7 branches in my county that they'd have something like this. I'll keep checking!

  • Reply Lady Susan September 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I just can't get behind wordless picture books. I mean, I don't mind looking through them, but my child demands a dialogue, you know? And then that is just too much work for me to come up with a narration for it.

    • Reply Elaine September 13, 2013 at 9:10 am

      How about asking your child what he or she sees in the pictures or thinks might be happening? As Peaceful Reader says, her kids at school love telling the story to her.

  • Reply Peaceful Reader September 13, 2013 at 12:47 am

    I love wordless books as my kiddos at school love telling the story to me! This looks beautiful. I will put it on my Titlewave order tomorrow. Thanks!

  • Reply Peaceful Reader September 13, 2013 at 12:47 am

    I love wordless books as my kiddos at school love telling the story to me! This looks beautiful. I will put it on my Titlewave order tomorrow. Thanks!

  • Reply Ash September 13, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Thanks for the recommendation! I'm going to go check my library for it. Have you seen "Unbrella"? It's a darling, whimsical book with really cute illustrations. I checked it out from the library and then decided I needed to own it.

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