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Aaron Becker, creator of Journey, a Caldecott Honor book, presents the next chapter in his stunning wordless fantasy.
A king emerges from a hidden door in a city park, startling two children sheltering from the rain. No sooner does he push a map and some strange objects into their hands than he is captured by hostile forces that whisk him back through the enchanted door. Just like that, the children are caught up in a quest to rescue the king and his kingdom from darkness, while illuminating the farthest reaches of their imagination. Colored markers in hand, they make their own way through the portal, under the sea, through a tropical paradise, over a perilous bridge, and high in the air with the help of a winged friend. Journey lovers will be thrilled to follow its characters on a new adventure threaded with familiar elements, while new fans will be swept into a visually captivating story that is even richer and more exhilarating than the first.
About the Author
Aaron Becker has made several memorable journeys in his lifetime. He’s lived in rural Japan and East Africa, backpacked through the South Pacific and Sweden, and most recently, ventured from the San Francisco Bay area to Amherst, Massachusetts, a town he now calls home with his wife, daughter, and lazy cat. To this day, his favorite destination remains his imagination, where you can often find him drawing secret doorways and magic lanterns.
A wordless picture book with an enormous following. ... The vast landscapes [are] ably detailed in vibrant watercolors.
—New York Times Book Review
On the coattails of Journey Becker gleefully expands and details his award-winning fantasyland, growing even more ambitious with his storytelling. ... Part Indiana Jones, part Avatar: The Last Airbender, this book proves to be more exciting than its Caldecott Honor predecessor, emphasizing adventure over evocative metaphor. Breathtaking in scope, consider this a wordless testament to the power of not just imagination, but art itself; picture books rarely feel this epic.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Becker includes wonderfully evocative set pieces—a submerged city, a Mayan temple—as the pair follows the map to collect chalk markers in all the colors of the rainbow to free the king and save the city. As before, hearts will beat faster during cliff-hanging moments in which the children must draw their way out of danger. ... [T]he strong visual narrative and inventive action sequences offer even more to savor. It’s another step forward in an already noteworthy career.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Becker continues the loving and gorgeous homage to imagination he began in Journey with this direct sequel. ... In addition to the winning adventure of the silent story, Becker manages to evolve his imagery with more sophisticated designs and ideas that draw readers into the narrative ever more deeply, proving once again that lush details, a meticulous sense of motion and action, and a boundless love of fun are worth all the words in the world.
—Booklist (starred review)
Becker creates a visual narrative that is clear enough for children to decipher but complex enough to reward multiple readings. Much of the interest comes from his ability to successfully blend architectural styles from a variety of cultures and time periods, the type of exotic settings that children associate with potential danger and requisite cleverness and courage. He clearly understands (and perhaps wants to suggest) that loneliness, boredom, or rainy days can trigger rich, imaginative play. Creative problem solving is at the heart of this genial book.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Becker’s illustrations are satisfyingly lush and full of subtle clues that will reward multiple readings. ... [F]ans of the first book will ... be happy to explore this fantastical world in more depth.
—The Horn Book
The intricate scenery, which includes an elaborately constructed castle, soldiers’ tiny dirigibles, an undersea civilization, and a flimsy and vertiginous rope bridge, provides a highly satisfactory imagined playground. The watercolors have a slightly smoky haze that adds to the epic quality of the landscape, while the inclusion of the map (a cleverly constituted color-coded infographic) allows kids to puzzle out the quest and match map components to the kids’ stops.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Thrillingly vertiginous... An exhilarating sequel to last year's "Journey" that has every bit as much visual enchantment. ... [A]ll rendered in gorgeous, confident illustrations that feel at once familiar and yet totally new.
—The Wall Street Journal
Artist Aaron Becker needs no words to amaze readers in 'Quest.' The book — which is the sequel to the Caldecott Honor-winning 'Journey' — uses beautiful illustrations to guide children through a mesmerizing adventure involving a king, an enchanted door, and a majestic purple bird. Let your little one's imagination take flight.
—Parents Magazine (tablet edition)
Triumphant. ... With a turn of the page, Becker takes readers into a full-spread, full-bleed vista of the monarch's kingdom... Becker's use of white space for his vignettes quickens the pace, while his full-bleed spreads beg readers to pause and pore over the details. He tucks in rewards for re-readers, such as a map inscribed on the lighthouse that replicates the one on the endpapers. ... Fans will eagerly anticipate the final installment of this engrossing wordless journey.
—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
Last year, Aaron Becker burst onto the scene with "Journey," opening the door onto a fantastically-imagined (and meticulously-rendered) world. Now he's back with "Quest" (the second installment in a planned trilogy), giving readers exactly what they wanted: the chance to dive back in and continue the journey.
I am almost loath to tell anyone about this magic book. If too many people notice it, Hollywood is bound to come knocking and turn this transporting, elegant story — a wordless picture book that's "Harold and the Purple Crayon" raised to the power of "The Lord of the Rings" — into something airless, bombastic and murderously trite. But to read this book once is to want to personally distribute one to every bored kid you've ever seen, Hollywood be damned. "Here," you'd say. "Flip through right now and spend the rest of your day trying to climb right into the pages. I'll wait."
—NPR, Best Books of 2014
The wordless picture book and its watercolor illustrations are a delight and a testament to the power of imagination.
Readers will experience the power of wonder and the value of companionship through this picture book. With watercolor, pen, and ink illustrations adding a tone of mystery to the quest, this story invites readers to continue the imaginative journey begun in Becker’s earlier title.
—Reading Today Online