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. - (Baker & Taylor)
A 2014 Caldecott Honor Book
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. - (Random House, Inc.)
*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.
Horn Book Guide Reviews
In the tradition of Harold and the Purple Crayon, this wordless story follows a bored girl who uses a crayon (red) to draw herself into other worlds. Unlike Harold, the worlds she enters are lush, detailed, and elaborate, and she gets pulled into a rescue mission involving a purple bird. There is much to pore over in the watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews
In the tradition of Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon (rev. 10/55), this wordless story shows a bored young girl living in a monochromatic world who is able to draw herself into other worlds with the help of a red crayon she finds on her bedroom floor. Unlike Harold, the worlds she enters into are lush and detailed -- a deep green forest with blue hanging lanterns, an elaborate castle with an intricate canal system for transportation, a multilevel steampunk airship carrying ominous soldiers, and a walled city in the desert. There are dangers she avoids by drawing herself new forms of transportation, including a hot-air balloon and a magic carpet, and she gets pulled into a rescue mission involving a purple bird, which eventually leads her to a door in a palm tree that takes her back to her own world and to a boy with a purple crayon she had never even noticed outside her apartment building when the story began. He, it seems, had been searching for the purple bird. There is much to pore over in the watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations, and when the boy and girl ride off together at the end on a tandem bicycle with one red wheel and one purple wheel, readers will want to follow them. kathleen t. horning Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Becker develops concepts for film studios, and his wordless picture book debut reads like a cinematic tribute to Harold and the Purple Crayon. Drab sepia drawings introduce a lonely girl whose afternoon is jolted into life (and full color) when she uses a piece of red chalk to draw a door on her wall, walking through it into a lantern-lit forest with a winding river. Drawing a red boat, she drifts toward a breathtaking castle city whose gleaming turrets and domes promise adventure and intrigue. Yet she does not linger—she draws a hot-air balloon, takes to the air, and encounters a squadron of magnificent, steampunk-style airships manned by soldiers who have trapped a phoenix-like bird. Her release of the bird earns the ire of the airmen, the bird in turn rescues her, and a clever resolution leads the girl to a friend with his own magic chalk. Wonder mixes with longing as the myriad possibilities offered by Becker's stunning settings dwarf what actually happens in the story. Readers will be both dazzled and spurred on imagined travels of their own. Ages 4–8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.)
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School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 1–4—In this auspicious debut picture book, a lonely girl escapes the boredom of a sepia-toned world by drawing a doorway to a magical realm. Harkening back to Crockett Johnson's Harold, this child uses a red crayon and a lot of imagination to venture across a Venice-like kingdom, fly among a fleet of steampunk airships, and take off on a magic carpet ride. When an act of compassion and bravery lands the heroine in a cage, it's her magic crayon and a bit of help from a new friend that save the day. This captivating wordless story has all the elements of a classic adventure: unknown lands, death-defying stunts, and a plucky lead. Finely detailed pen-and-ink line drawings combine with luminous washes of watercolor to create a rich and enchanting setting. Becker builds a sense of suspense by varying colorful full-page spreads with smaller vignettes that feature the girl and her red crayon surrounded by ample white space. The final page shows the youngster and her new friend riding a tandem bicycle pointing onward. Endpapers spotlight all manner of transportation: ships, trains, cars, and even space shuttles. The strong visual narrative makes this an appealing choice for a wide range of ages. By the turn of the last page, children will immediately begin imagining the next adventure.—Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT
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