by Becker, Aaron

Using a red marker, a young girl draws a door on her bedroom wall and through it enters another world where she experiences many adventures, including being captured by an evil emperor.

Aaron Becker has worked as an artist in the film and animation industry, where he helped define the look and feel of characters, stories, and the movies they become a part of. With Journey, he has created characters and worlds of his very own, using traditional materials and techniques. Aaron Becker lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, daughter, and cat. This is his first book.

*Starred Review* First-time author Becker sweeps readers away on the very best kind of journey, allowing a complex color scheme, intricate fantasy environments, and a stirring sense of adventure to tell the story without a single word. Worn out by an urban world of washed-out colors and too-busy adults, a young girl makes her escape through a slightly foreboding mystical forest and floats into a city-sized castle, where she spies a magnificent bird that is captured and caged. Without hesitation, she takes on an army of Samurai-like air-warlords and saves the bird, who ushers her back into her own world, where friendship and great new adventure await. Becker's background in movie animation is apparent in his sense of pace, motion, and action; his extraordinary detail work; and his sharp visual cues: objects of imagination and escape, for example, are all colored in blazing red. But through elements that reverberate with the power of Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955), Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (1963), and Barbara Lehman's The Red Book (2004), he clearly has a deep understanding of his literary antecedents, too. Laudable for its adventuresome female protagonist, scope, and sense of fun, this title will draw girls and boys back to it again and again. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Ignored by her digitally distracted family, a girl draws a red door on her bedroom wall and steps through. A lush green forest twinkles with lanterns and strung lights; a dizzying castle towers, its gates, turrets and halls linked by complicated waterways; a hovering aircraft festooned with propellers and wheels holds an imprisoned purple-plumed bird. Amid these marvels, the girl appears markedly ordinary with her common pageboy haircut, minimal facial features and simple clothes. She could be anyone, really, and readers will easily appropriate her journey as their own. Putty-colored grays and flat, boxy city shapes defined the girl's urban reality, but here, color rules, modulating from mossy greens to slate blues to dusky purple-all punctuated with her crayon's brilliant red and the yellow of a golden bird cage. White pages highlight action (the girl's crayon whips up a boat, a hot air balloon and a magic carpet when needed), but most spreads deliver fantastically intricate pen, ink and watercolor architectural illustrations that remain playfully engrossing. They conjure contextual questions with no clear answers, or perhaps with so many answers one's imagination finds itself opening door upon door and crossing thresholds, just as the girl did to escape loneliness. After freeing the bird, she needs its help for a quick escape through a small purple door back to her everyday street and back to a boy who wields an equally powerful purple crayon (an obvious and moving homage). An imaginative adventure story whose elaborate illustrations inspire wonder, careful examination and multiple reads. (Picture book. 2-6) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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