The Journey of Visual Storytelling

A remarkable adventure without a single word. A magical doorway that unlocks awe-inspiring worlds. Journey by Aaron Becker manifests the essence of the phrase, a picture speaks a thousand words. 

The concept of a book without words consistently intrigues me. Words are key to my personal cognitive process of storytelling. I am indeed a hopeless romantic for those ever flowing row of words carved in pages of books. Journey is a masterpiece of art that not only blew my mind, but captivated the hearts of my children.

Journey is an ode to the imaginative worlds created in childhood. It is a book more suitable for ages 5 through 10, due to it’s distinguished and elaborate illustrations. However, don’t let that stop you from sharing it with toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers, even adults. This is a timeless story that will inspire and bring together all of humanity for the better. It is one of those magnificent books that unite the distinct worlds that adults and children live in. It will without a doubt inspire multiple reads.

The story begins with detailed illustrations of a young girl who inhabits an occupied world which in turn causes her boredom. Becker’s use of sepia tones in the illustrations further add to the flatness and dullness of her surroundings. Becker foreshadows the tool that will unlock her vivid imagination early on. He highlights various objects in red such as a scooter, kite and ball for the reader to explore this concept. He also foreshadows the connection to the purple bird the young girl sets free.

If readers are familiar with the 1955 classic, Harold and the Purple Crayon, they will instantly acknowledge the honorary alignment Becker incorporated. Particularly because the highlighted purple marker is being held by a young boy. The boy is standing next to a postal box looking off at a distance. Almost as if searching for something. This is skillfully executed on the first page of the story under the publisher information.

 When the young girl discovers the red marker on her bedroom floor, hidden under the pet cat; she utilizes it to draw a red door and escape her world. Once she steps through this red door, the illustrations take on a new perspective. Vivid lines and rich watercolor tones ignite the reader’s imaginative response to the story’s development. 

Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage an kindness can set her free.

My oldest son was amazed by the girl’s bravery and courage. He was also intrigued by how appreciative the purple bird was after the girl helped him escape captivity. The majestic bird in turn saved the girl’s red marker after the emperor tossed it into an abyss. This act set her free and lead the girl to a unique purple door. A purple door that would lead her back to the sepia toned world, but align her with the boy holding the purple marker.

Becker’s use of profound symbolism through his captivating art, is brilliantly done. Is this the beginning of a new friendship? Was the boy waiting for the purple bird all this time? This is cemented as the girl and boy ride off together on a bicycle while the purple bird follows in flight.  A bicycle consisting of one red wheel and one purple wheel. I will let your minds ponder on that metaphor.

Picture books enhance the reader’s perspective to the art of visual storytelling. Creating plot exploration and individual interpretation.

Hats off Mr. Becker! Your exquisite work has transformed me. I now have an enormous appreciation for the realms in which wordless picture books entice.

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