Monday, April 29, 2019

Unexpected Surprises in The Great Journey

I love books like The Great Journey by Agathe Demois and Vincent Godeau.

It's super fun with lots to look at as we follow a tiny bird on a long journey across various landscapes and see hidden, unexpected and surprising images along the way. I especially love the special effect of the green line drawings that are embedded in the bold red line drawings which the reader can only see when they use the magic view finder.  (The red lens of the view finder cancels out the red line drawings.) The hidden or embedded illustrations really make this book special.

Let me give you a couple of my favorite most playful examples.  As I've already mentioned, the little bird flies across various landscapes, countrysides, cities, factories, oceans, jungles etc.  When flying across the ocean scape it looks like there are several ice bergs. But look through the red lens and we discover that the ice bergs are actually the tops of ice cream cones. There is some kind of mining operation going on underwater with seals, penguins and polar bear bringing some kind of material to the surface. In another corner, we see a school of fish escaping a penguin through a twisty tunnel. One other segment of the same pages shows penguins bottling water.  It's a busy place!

Another fun illustration is a group of people walking about what looks like a city but the magic view finder shows us what's going on inside their bodies and brains mostly unexpected happenings. One fellow's leg is made up of a couple of hams, maybe or bird legs (unexpected). A young woman's insides are comprised of all sorts of gears (unexpected). A man in a puffy coat turns out to have a tattoo, pierced ears and wearing only briefs (typical). There's a woman carrying a guitar case filled with a very long, curvy snake (unexpected) but the animal carrier next to a different woman has a barking dog inside (expected). The one image I really like is of the two gentlemen in the foreground showing what's going on in their minds as they talk with each other. One man has two teeny-tiny men pulling a string straight from the mind of the other man's brain which shows a tangled mess of string.  Haven't we all had conversations like this?

The little bird does eventually reach his or her's destination which is in a jungle. Here a large tree that looks uninhabited is really filled with a mass of birds as revealed by the red lens viewer.

The viewer is attached to the book so it shouldn't get lost too quickly.

It's a fun, witty book which will  appeal to many ages but I would expect that kids in elementary and middle grades will be the main audience. 

If this sort of book appeals to you, I would also recommend Illuminature by Rachel Williams. It does a similar thing  uncovering various natural environments and associated plants, daytime or nighttime animals using a view finder with three coloured lens. Fascinating.

Both of these books would make great gifts.


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