Author and Illustrator: Aaron Becker
Published August 6th, 2013 by Candlewick Press
Goodreads Summary: Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.
A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. 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 and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.
My Review: This book is very hard to explain the magic of it. Lorna (@notforlunch) described it the best, I think: “a wonderful mashup of a David Wiesner book and Harold and the Purple Crayon.” I think this is perfect. It has the illustration beauty and magic of a wordless David Wiesner picture book and it is about creativity (and a crayon) like Harold. The beauty of the castle she visted also reminded me of Cathedral by David Macaulay. This book is just full of amazing! (You know it is good if it is a topic of #SharpSchu book club!)
Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: This was a bit hard for me. I can envision how this book would be used in the middle grades, but I was blanking on ideas for primary. I know this book needs to be shared, but how?
In my classroom, the first thing I would do is project the book and just have the students read it with me. No talking; just looking. Then we’d go back and discuss what is going on in the book, talk about some of the smaller parts of the illustrations, relive the journey. If I wanted to include a writing activity, we could add words to the book (although, I think this book’s illustrations stand alone). We could also discuss what we’d do if we had a magic crayon. I think this book would be a great addition to Dot Day and discussing creativity. Finally, I think a discussion of observing your surroundings would be appropriate as what the girl wanted the most was right in front of her at the beginning of the book.
Discussion Questions: What would you do with a magic crayon?; What was your favorite part of the journey?; Two parts remind me of Where the Wild Things Are, can you figure out which parts?; What do you think the girl’s name is?; Aaron Becker grew up in many different parts of the world including Japan. Can you find influences of Japan in this story? What about some of the other places he lived?
Read This If You Loved: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, Blackout by John Rocco, David Weisner wordless picture books, Cathedral by David Macaulay, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Henri Mouse by George Mendoza, Chalk by Bill Thomson, Art & Max by David Weisner, Weslandia by Paul Fleishman, Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis
I put “Read Aloud” although this book is wordless; however, I know it needs to be shared with students. How would you share this book with your students in a read aloud fashion?