Saturday, 12 April 2014

Journey: A Journey Into the Imagination You Won’t Want to Miss

A Review By: Amelia
I always found–even as a child–that books written for children try to force a message or a lesson down your throat. Authors and publishers of children’s books seem to think that unless kids are learning a life lesson that the book isn’t worth reading. I think that in itself is a terrible life lesson right there! With thoughts like this as the general mentality, amazing books like Journey–that don’t have a single word within its pages let alone annoyingly obvious life lessons–might be passed over and that is a serious shame!

Journey is about a lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

Aaron Becker, the writer and illustrator of Journey, has worked as an artist for such film studios as Lucasfilm, Disney, and Pixar, where he helped define the look and feel of characters, stories, and the movies they become a part of. With Journey, he created characters and worlds of his very own using traditional materials and techniques and it is, surprisingly (because it’s so amazing) his first book!

The main character of the piece is one lone girl who’s ignored by her family and seeks her own entertainment in the form of a red crayon and her own vivid imagination. Without ever saying a word this young girl comes off very whimsically. She emotes perfectly and you feel such immense empathy for her within the first few panels as she’s ignored by her family that you forget that you don’t even know her name!

The main character within Journey is also the creator of all the locations. She imagines her surroundings and then draws (with her red imagination crayon of wonder) any objects that she needs to help traverse them. An example of this is how she rides down a gentle river in a boat and ends up in a city made of nothing but different levels of canals. Becker’s amazing style and use of colour really lends themselves beautifully to the little girl’s imaginative journey. 

Without a single word this children’s picture book can ensnare children and adults alike. It’s a dazzling debut that will sweep everyone off their feet with the immense detail and amazing colours. It’s intricate and creates such a longing to just sit and imagine your own fantasy worlds or just to go back and look over each page over and over again.

My final thoughts on Journey are that it’s a book that should be on everyone’s shelf. It can appeal to everyone: children, adults, artists, writers, the fantastical, and the whimsical. You’ll find something new every time you open the book and will inspire you to no end. This is a fantasy environment that will draw you in and keep you coming back!

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