Wordless Picture Book
For ages 6 and up
Candlewick Press, 2014, 978-0-7636-6595-1
Two children are out riding a tandem bike together when it starts to rain. They, and their purple pet bird, take refuge under a bridge and they are standing there looking out when the girl notices that there is a door under the bridge. The door opens and an elderly king comes out. He gives the children a map, and a yellow crayon. Then some soldiers come out of the door and they drag the king away and slam the door behind them.
Wanting to follow the old king, the children draw a set of keys using their own red and purple crayons. They open the door and enter the world that lies beyond. They arrive just in time to see the king being taken away on a boat that is traveling away from a walled and fortified city. Parts of the city are on fire and there are soldiers everywhere. Clearly some kind of conflict has occurred and the king has been taken prisoner.
The children are spotted by soldiers, so they quickly draw pictures of a purple octopus and some diving gear. The children put on their helmet, air tanks, and swimming fins and then the octopus takes them deep under water to an ancient city, where they find another crayon, a yellow one this time. The children then swim away as quickly as they can and head for land once more.
Using the map, the children travel long distances to collect all the crayons that are shown on the old king’s map. All the while the king’s enemies pursue them relentlessly.
This magical wordless tale carries on where Aaron Becker’s first book, Journey, left of. The story can be enjoyed as a stand-alone tale or as part of a bigger narrative. Readers of all ages will delight in sharing the adventure that the two children have. Children who cannot yet read can follow the story without needing any help; and readers who are already excellent readers will love the way this book gives them the freedom to craft their own story for a change.