Reviews for Journey

by Aaron Becker

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Becker develops concepts for film studios, and his wordless picture book debut reads like a cinematic tribute to Harold and the Purple Crayon. Drab sepia drawings introduce a lonely girl whose afternoon is jolted into life (and full color) when she uses a piece of red chalk to draw a door on her wall, walking through it into a lantern-lit forest with a winding river. Drawing a red boat, she drifts toward a breathtaking castle city whose gleaming turrets and domes promise adventure and intrigue. Yet she does not linger-she draws a hot-air balloon, takes to the air, and encounters a squadron of magnificent, steampunk-style airships manned by soldiers who have trapped a phoenix-like bird. Her release of the bird earns the ire of the airmen, the bird in turn rescues her, and a clever resolution leads the girl to a friend with his own magic chalk. Wonder mixes with longing as the myriad possibilities offered by Becker's stunning settings dwarf what actually happens in the story. Readers will be both dazzled and spurred on imagined travels of their own. Ages 4-8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Ignored by her digitally distracted family, a girl draws a red door on her bedroom wall and steps through. A lush green forest twinkles with lanterns and strung lights; a dizzying castle towers, its gates, turrets and halls linked by complicated waterways; a hovering aircraft festooned with propellers and wheels holds an imprisoned purple-plumed bird. Amid these marvels, the girl appears markedly ordinary with her common pageboy haircut, minimal facial features and simple clothes. She could be anyone, really, and readers will easily appropriate her journey as their own. Putty-colored grays and flat, boxy city shapes defined the girl's urban reality, but here, color rules, modulating from mossy greens to slate blues to dusky purple--all punctuated with her crayon's brilliant red and the yellow of a golden bird cage. White pages highlight action (the girl's crayon whips up a boat, a hot air balloon and a magic carpet when needed), but most spreads deliver fantastically intricate pen, ink and watercolor architectural illustrations that remain playfully engrossing. They conjure contextual questions with no clear answers, or perhaps with so many answers one's imagination finds itself opening door upon door and crossing thresholds, just as the girl did to escape loneliness. After freeing the bird, she needs its help for a quick escape through a small purple door back to her everyday street and back to a boy who wields an equally powerful purple crayon (an obvious and moving homage). An imaginative adventure story whose elaborate illustrations inspire wonder, careful examination and multiple reads. (Picture book. 2-6)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 1-4-In this auspicious debut picture book, a lonely girl escapes the boredom of a sepia-toned world by drawing a doorway to a magical realm. Harkening back to Crockett Johnson's Harold, this child uses a red crayon and a lot of imagination to venture across a Venice-like kingdom, fly among a fleet of steampunk airships, and take off on a magic carpet ride. When an act of compassion and bravery lands the heroine in a cage, it's her magic crayon and a bit of help from a new friend that save the day. This captivating wordless story has all the elements of a classic adventure: unknown lands, death-defying stunts, and a plucky lead. Finely detailed pen-and-ink line drawings combine with luminous washes of watercolor to create a rich and enchanting setting. Becker builds a sense of suspense by varying colorful full-page spreads with smaller vignettes that feature the girl and her red crayon surrounded by ample white space. The final page shows the youngster and her new friend riding a tandem bicycle pointing onward. Endpapers spotlight all manner of transportation: ships, trains, cars, and even space shuttles. The strong visual narrative makes this an appealing choice for a wide range of ages. By the turn of the last page, children will immediately begin imagining the next adventure.-Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In the tradition of Harold and the Purple Crayon, this wordless story follows a bored girl who uses a crayon (red) to draw herself into other worlds. Unlike Harold, the worlds she enters are lush, detailed, and elaborate, and she gets pulled into a rescue mission involving a purple bird. There is much to pore over in the watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* First-time author Becker sweeps readers away on the very best kind of journey, allowing a complex color scheme, intricate fantasy environments, and a stirring sense of adventure to tell the story without a single word. Worn out by an urban world of washed-out colors and too-busy adults, a young girl makes her escape through a slightly foreboding mystical forest and floats into a city-sized castle, where she spies a magnificent bird that is captured and caged. Without hesitation, she takes on an army of Samurai-like air-warlords and saves the bird, who ushers her back into her own world, where friendship and great new adventure await. Becker's background in movie animation is apparent in his sense of pace, motion, and action; his extraordinary detail work; and his sharp visual cues: objects of imagination and escape, for example, are all colored in blazing red. But through elements that reverberate with the power of Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955), Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (1963), and Barbara Lehman's The Red Book (2004), he clearly has a deep understanding of his literary antecedents, too. Laudable for its adventuresome female protagonist, scope, and sense of fun, this title will draw girls and boys back to it again and again.--Karp, Jesse Copyright 2010 Booklist