Monday, February 3, 2014

Journey by Aaron Becker (2013)

A friend told me to read Journey, wondering why it didn't win the Caldecott Award (it's an honor book instead).  The political machinations of the Caldecott are many and wide, never to be revealed because of the legal code of silence surrounding the deliberations, so who knows why one thing wins while another doesn't.  I agree with her that Journey is a far more lovely, and interesting book than the winner (which I put down after only a few pages - and it's a PICTURE BOOK).  I'm not sure we are seeing anything new in Journey -   Captain Kangaroo had Simon back in the 1970s ("You know my name is Simon, and the things I draw come true... they take me, take me, take me climbing over the garden wall with you.").

Still, Journey does tell a story (without words) about the power of art and imagination to stave off boredom, and how art and imagination can even lead to new friends.  And there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

Unlike Simon, the illustrations in Journey are astounding and gorgeous.  I want to go to this world that Aaron Becker, in the character of this little girl with the red crayon, has created.

JourneyJourney by Aaron Becker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wish I had a red crayon that could take me to the world Aaron Becker has created here. Lushly illustrated, intricate, and quite beautiful.  We always needs new stories that champion the power of art and imagination to stave off boredom and connect to one another.  This is a lovely addition to that canon of children's literature.  To paraphrase e.e. cummings:  Aaron Becker has created a hell of a universe here, and encourages us to create our own as well; let's go!


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