Sunday, December 24, 2017

Journey / Quest / Return - a picture book trilogy by Aaron Becker

Journey / Quest / Return
by Aaron Becker [jP Becker]

This is a self-contained trilogy of picture books, published over the course of four years — Journey (2013), Quest (2014) and Return (2016). The first book in the story, Journey, was a Caldecott Medal Honor book.

All three of these juvenile books fall into the rare storytelling category of “wordless stories”. Not a single word of dialog appears in any of the three books — character interactions are purely through expressions, gestures and action.

In Journey, a lonely little girl, with a family too busy to be bothered to interact with her, discovered a large stick of bright red artists’ chalk. Using her imagination, she draws a fully-realized doorway into the wall of her bedroom, opens the magical door, and steps through into a gorgeous medieval fantasy world. Using the magic red chalk, she goes on an adventure, drawing rowboats and hot air balloons to provide herself with transportation. Ultimately, she runs afoul of the local totalitarian government when she attempts to rescue a beautiful purple bird from a group of soldiers.

In the second and third books, after returning to the “real world”, the girl joins forces with a boy with magical purple chalk to return to the fantasy world, where they encounter a friendly king, who gives them a map to find additional magical chalks. In their quest to find more colors of the magical chalk, they again are pursued by agents of the oppressive regime that is holding their friendly king prisoner. Finally, the third book pulls the girl’s father into the fantasy realm as he tries to find out what has happened to his daughter, who keeps disappearing for lengthy periods of time.

All three books feature absolutely gorgeous illustrations — the fine detail work on some of the fantasy world settings is breathtaking. The positive approach to having a vivid imagination is very uplifting. And the lack of dialog makes the creativity of Becker’s storytelling impressive. I can’t recommend this trilogy highly enough!

[If you enjoy this, you may also appreciate Shaun Tan’s wordless graphic novel/picture book The Arrival.] [ official Aaron Becker web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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