Saturday, February 15, 2014

Journey by Aaron Becker

Journey by Aaron Becker

Rating: 5 stars

Lorelei is now in first grade.  When I started this blog, she was not yet three (click here for the first time she appeared in a blog post).  Back then, we shared books that we found together in the library.  I'd order a bunch that I'd found on some list somewhere, and she'd just look around the library and grab ones that looked pretty neat.

These days, we share books in a different sort of way.  She often tells me about books and, since she knows I have a children's book blog, she suggests books for me to write about.  She searches on her own, in her own school library.  She brings them home for me or points them out at our local library when we go together.

Journey is one of the books she recommended to me.  She told me, in a gushing, girly sort of way: "Oh MOM!  You've just GOT to read this book!  Well, not read.  There aren't any words.  But the pictures are just AMAZING!  You've just GOT to put it on your blog."

Well, okay then.  I will!

I understand why Journey captured her imagination.  It makes me want to gush and use annoying all-caps to explain what a MASTERPIECE it is!  The book was recently awarded as a Caldecott Honor book...and it is so, SO worthy of the award.  It is one of the most magical books I've ever had on my lap.  It is an invitation to jump in and dream of what could be possible if you turned on the light switch to your imagination.

Take a minute (actually only 52 seconds) to watch this:

The girl seems frustrated that no one will play with her, so she creates and enters a magical world.  That you probably already know.  But let me tell you what the best part of the book is so that you parents who want to use books to teach will make sure to put this one on your list.

The girl enters a magical world in which she finds a purple bird that is in a cage, seemingly as lonely as the girl was in the first few pages of the book.  She takes a risk and rescues, then releases the bird, only to be imprisoned in the same cage herself.  And, to make things worse, she's dropped the magical red marker that she's used to create this world.  It is a low moment for her.

(I love that the low moment appears in the book--what a lesson for our kids to realize that life has these, too!  And that the challenge becomes: well, what now?  I like books where the characters rescue themselves and get themselves out of the low point, but...Journey has a neat resolution, too.)

And then, the bird appears.  With the red marker held gently in its beak.  The girl helped the bird escape, and now the bird has turned around to help her.  The bird then leads the girl through its magical world, and back to its creator: a boy, with a magical purple marker.  A friend.  Who also believes in magic.

Like the recent book Oliver, this book is about finding a friend that gets you.  And it's a story with sprinklings of self-determination and kindness and karma-filled goodness.  Definitely one to buy for the shelf, definitely award-worthy, definitely a great recommendation from my fellow bookworm and daughter, Lorelei.

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