A beautiful ‘Journey’ with Aaron Becker

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My seven-year-old son came home from school recently to report that they were learning about ‘inference’ and to do so, they were reading books without words. Before he knew it, I was loading him down with some of my favourite wordless books, including a wonderful new release about a little girl’s elaborate journey.

Journey by Aaron Becker begins with a lonely little girl drawing a magical door on her bedroom wall. She steps through the door and from there unfolds an amazing adventure that includes hot air balloons, magic carpet rides, daring escapes and new-found friends.

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As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a huge fan of books without words – they stretch the imagination and challenge the concept of what literacy should be.

The most successful books without words have illustrations that inspire and that are compelling. Becker delivers this with Journey. The illustrations are sumptuous and rich, and the restrained colour palette makes the girl’s red crayon drawings pop off the page. Cleverly, occasional pages are dominated by white space, drawing the eye to key details (the red crayon and a purple bird) which in turn allows even the youngest of readers to pick up important threads of the story.

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Journey has been compared to the Crockett Johnson classic, Harold and the Purple Crayon – the concept is indeed similar however the feel of each book (and the ending of Journey) is quite different. For more wordless books, see our previous reviews of Wonder Bear, Flora and the Flamingo, Wave and the extraordinary The Red Book.

Find Journey in all good bookstores and online at Readings.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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