Author and Illustrator: Aaron Becker
Publisher and Year: Candlewick Press, 2013 (Caldecott honor)
Number of Pages: 37 Pages
Journey is a picture book with no words and all images. It follows the adventures of a little girl who draws her way with a red crayon to an imaginary world with a castle. The guards of the castle capture a bird that the girl sets free. The bird takes her back to reality where she befriends a boy who has the same magical crayon as her, except in purple.
This text serves as a window into the whimsical and magical world that the imagination can create. As a mirror, it allows the reader to reflect on the wonders imagination can bring when trying to escape from reality. As a door, it invites the audience to join in and participate in a fantasy world with the main character. In the beginning of the story, the girl is ignored by her parents because they are busy doing other tasks. So, the girl feels powerless and lonely in the real world. However, when she discovers the magic red crayon that can draw her anything she would like, she explores the world the crayon provides. She never draws anything elaborate, just simple things that help her in the adventures in the fantasy world. As a result, she gains power and even helps free a trapped bird that the people in the fantasy world were after (it is found out that the bird is drawn by the boy with the magical purple crayon). This can possibly be a symbol that with age, the freedom in creativity and imagination are not valued and cannot exist. It can act as a parallel the girl finds in the real world that creativity is not promoted. Once again, no exact culture is represented. Instead, the broad culture of a child and the imagination are highlighted. The author/illustrator sends the message that creativity and imagination cannot be confined. On the contrary, imagination needs freedom to allow children (and all ages) to dream and explore life in a unique ways. This adds to my understanding of culture in the sense that no person (regardless of race, religion, or gender) should be stopped from exploring the positive effects of imagination.
Perceptually, the story is all images with no words because the reader can be creative and learn worlds through images. In addition, this book is a Caldecott honor, so artwork is detailed important to the story. This would make sense because girl’s red crayon is magical and through the crayon (a symbol for the fine arts) she can explore fantasy worlds. The creations of the boy and girl are brightest colors on page and even have a different texture than the background. This stands for the magic found within the crayons and the imagination of both children. The real world is dull colors showing that imagination brings color to the world. The first two pages in book are framed meaning the girl feels confined and alone in the real world. As the story moves along, the images show travels of across the world exposing the reader to places around the world. The girl draws everything she needs being a sign that she is independent.
Through this picture book is just images, the author highlights important themes such as imagination can cope with the real world, do not limit the mind to the adventures imagination can bring, independence, explore the world, and imagination can bring friendship and unity among people.