Thursday, November 7, 2013

I recently saw this ad:

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.  

And though I might argue that it's not the 'only' thing, I can certainly appreciate the intent behind the message.

Journey by Aaron Becker is a beautiful, wordless picture book that perfectly captures the importance of imagination and the power of finding your way whether it's in the real world or those of fantasy. 

A girl is looking for someone to play with.  Everyone in her family is too busy and she’s left to brood in her bedroom.  Check out her bedroom walls.  Within one panel we learn that she is a dreamer and dreams of travel in faraway places.  A world map, a travel poster of Egypt, sail boats on her bedspread and a hot-air balloon mobile tell us of her desire to explore/experience the world.  Her sepia-toned reality has little interest to hold her interest.

So what does a bored child do when no one wants to play?

She picks up a red crayon and draws a door (escape-hatch) on her bedroom wall.  She enters a verdant forest filled with soft green trees gently lit with exotic lanterns and fairy lights.

Her red crayon is truly magical as it allows her to draw a boat in which she drifts down a gentle stream until she reaches a castle-city. She is welcomed by everyone she sees drifting through canals until she cascades over the end of one of these canals.

But, not to worry - her red crayon and imagination come to the rescue again.  She draws a hot-air balloon that allows her to sail high above the clouds.  She witnesses the chase and capture of a beautiful purple bird that is kept caged on a steampunk-looking airship.  She releases the bird, which incurs the ire of the inhabitants and is then kept prisoner until the bird, in turn, rescues her. 

Yet again, the red crayon enables her to escape her prison on a magic flying carpet that glides over a desert landscape eventually arriving in an oasis.  There the purple bird shows the girl a palm tree with a purple door.  She and the bird enter and arrive back home.  And, lo the bird is welcomed by a boy with a purple crayon. The adventure ends where it began except the girl now has someone to share in future journeys of the imagination.

Highly recommended for elementary grades.


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