Today we review Journey by Aaron Becker – an illustrated, epic adventure that is part of the authors’ wordless trilogy of picture books. (age 3 to 8)
Whether you’re an adult or a child, the author’s watercolor illustrations are the first thing that will draw you to this book. The fact that it is a wordless title makes it both intriguing and interactive, leaving the story open to interpretation. This is a great way to help children develop social and critical thinking skills in their early years.
What’s it about? The Journey is a story of a nameless girl who, bored of her mundane life, decides to take herself on a flight of fancy. Using a piece of red chalk to draw a door on the wall, she walks through it into an emerald forest with a flowing river. There she draws a red boat and travels into an intriguing castle, running over turrets and parapets until she flies away on a hot air balloon. Fighting the drone-like birds, which surround her, and defeating them, her adventure goes on as she takes the readers along on a spectacular journey with her
What works: The entire imaginary world in the book has been painstakingly imagined and created. Each visual is a perfect balance of vivid hues and softer tones, ensuring that the journey of the nameless girl comes alive before the eyes of the reader.
The author has also tried to weave a brilliant story and concept through this book. Minus any words, he illustrates the power of one’s’ imagination and also shows that this power lies within each one of us. We can change our lives and shape our world with creativity and resilience. A heartening and optimistic message for all the young readers out there, we think.
What doesn’t work: The actual story becomes secondary to the eye-catching visuals. You need to be quite an excellent storyteller to keep children (especially the young ones) captivated with the book.
NFK Tip – The Wordless book enhances the process of movement along a sequence of learning over which complex, flexible dialogic self-system develops. If you’re reading journey to a young child ensure you make the story move at a faster pace as their attention span is short. Repeatedly reading the book and creating new stories with the same visual will fuel their imagination and give them a chance to absorb the beauty of the illustrations.
When reading to older children, allow them to weave the narrative of the journey for you. Let them interpret the story their way and fuel the imagination of the little bards hidden within them.