Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book 281: Journey

JOURNEY, by Aaron Becker, Candlewick Press, 2013.

For the entire months of November and December, my newsfeed on Facebook was pretty much devoted to lists of the best books of 2013.  JOURNEY appeared on almost, if not, all of them.  I had not yet read it, but, based on one double-page illustration, I bought the book.  I am so glad that I did.

JOURNEY is a wordless picture book, so there is no text to write about, but there very much is a story. And the story is wonderful.  It's pretty simple: A young girl feels ignored by her family, so she creates a door to her own adventure.  I don't see this as an indictment against her family in any way; I see this as showing the benefit of allowing children to get bored so that they will use their imagination.

This book does pay homage to several books, most obviously Harold and the Purple Crayon, but I also saw traces of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth, 1001 Arabian Nights, and just about anything that Jules Verne wrote.  The homage feels almost like a love letter to the fantastic children's literature of the past.

The artwork in this book is heart-stoppingly beautiful.  It is marvelous and magical.  It is enchanting and engaging.  It is accessible and just plain awesome.  This was Aaron Becker's first book.  I can't wait to see what he does next.


  1. I like your analysis of the girl's family. Boredom is indeed important! I think it's why the reader is able to accept that she doesn't get anywhere with them by the end of the book, but instead, finds her own path. Interestingly enough, however, I am working on the 3rd and final installment as I type, and we just might see her family after all... :)

    1. Oo. So there will be at least two more books like this. Wonderful. And, congratulations on the Newbery Honor.