As I mentioned yesterday, I'm in the process of reviewing the books I acquired at the Medal Winners book signing in NYC. The second book in my stack is the 2014 Caldecott Honor book, Journey. This book never made it onto my radar prior to the Caldecott list being publish in late January. I'm thrilled that it did; I think it's the family favorite of all the books I bought at the book signing. Even my teens are hooked, and just the other day, my oldest (14) brought it along on a car ride with us.
At first glance, Journey hearkens back to the timeless classic Harold and the Purple Crayon. Aside from a writing apparatus creating an object with which the main character interacts, the connection quickly withers. Where Harold draws one-dimensional objects which comprise the only illustration, Journey's red drawings open a door to an odyssey in entirely new realm.
Although Journey contains no words, none are particularly needed as the red draws your eyes and imagination through the muted tones of the cities and landscapes on the adventure of this imaginative little girl. The architecture is decidedly amazing. The villains are fearsome, but not exactly nightmare-worthy. The forests have an idyllic path with whimsical lanterns floating overhead. A visual treat, to say the least.
Were it just the lovely pictures and expansive imaginary world this book would be quite enjoyable, but the truly distinguishing feature is the ending. I don't want to spoil the ending for others, but when the purple bird leads the little girl to a purple door, the book finds an enchanting ending to this remarkable Journey.