Written and Illustrated by Aaron Becker
Published by Candlewick Press, 2013
Themes: imagination, journeys, loneliness
Dad’s busy. Mom’s busy. Big sister’s busy. What’s a little girl to do?
A little girl searches out some interaction with each member of here household, but Mom, Dad and Big Sis are all preoccupied with their own stuff. She retreats to her bedroom to escape this boredom, and she uses her red crayon to draw a door on her way which leads her into an imaginary magical world. She journeys through these magical kingdoms drawing various means of transport: a boat, hot air balloon, magic carpet, etc But not everyone is sweet in this world. The little girl frees the mean old emperor’s caged bird and is herself caged. Her kindness and creativity prove the solutions to this escape and her escape back to the real world. No spoilers, but the twist at the end is clever on oh so many levels.
Why I like this book:
This wordless picture book gives more than a nod to HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON. It is minimalistic, masterful, magical and has an incredibly moving ending. Surely our greatest journeys are the imaginary ones! It questions the control we have over our lives.
The illustrations are elaborate and mystical and will evoke wonder and perusal! The red crayon and its creations stand out AND blend in with the realms of fantasy that evoke for me a mix of Jules Verne and more Chinese art! The architecture is splendid and its is a story that empowers with every viewing. I am sticking my head out again and and joining those who say this will be an award winner.
On Aaron’s website, you’ll find information on the making of JOURNEY and the trailer.
Give each child a red crayon and have them draw a door into their own journey.
The blog Read, Write, Reflect has a great 5th grade lesson on this.
Every Friday, authors and Kidlit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the perfect picture books with resources, please visit Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.