Marker + Imagination: Journey

I’m a huge fan of well-crafted wordless picture books.  With an engaging story that even a pre-reader can “read” aloud, they stimulate imagination, and teach children how books work and stories unfold.  (See my review of Chalk for a great example.)  Here is another of my new favorites in that genre.

Journey_by_Aaron_BeckerJourney, by Aaron Becker (lexile: NA; AR book level: NA; 40 pp)

Aaron Becker’s debut book Journey is a captivating story of a bored girl who can’t get anyone in her family to play with her.  So, red marker in hand, she draws a door … and the door leads to an intricate fantasy world of adventure, a daring rescue, and even a new friend.

As children pore over Becker’s detailed images, they can be encouraged to tell the story that they see.  What is this city like which she has found?  Who are the people she encounters?  What are they doing and why?  How do her actions change the story?  And when you get to the end, you’ll want to go back to the beginning and look for the details you missed the first time through.

Even older children who can read (and adults!) will enjoy Journey.  In fact, the story might be too complex and even a bit threatening at one point for young preschoolers.  Though not necessary to appreciate the story, readers familiar with classic children’s literature may also find reference to a character from another book with a purple marker (or is it a crayon?).

Each year the American Library Association awards the Caldecott Medal to the artist of the best American picture book of the previous year.  I think we’ll find Journey on that list in January.

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