Dear Book Lovers, Welcome! I am delighted that you have found The Through the Looking Glass blog. For over twenty years I reviewed children's literature titles for my online journal, which came out six times a year. Every book review written for that publication can be found on the Through the Looking Glass website (the link is below). I am now moving in a different direction, though the columns that I write are still book-centric. Instead of writing reviews, I'm offering you columns on topics that have been inspired by wonderful books that I have read. I tell you about the books in question, and describe how they have have impacted me. This may sound peculiar to some of you, but the books that I tend to choose are ones that resonate with me on some level. Therefore, when I read the last page and close the covers, I am not quite the same person that I was when first I started reading the book. The shift in my perspective might be miniscule, but it is still there. The books I am looking are both about adult and children's titles. Some of the children's titles will appeal to adults, while others will not. Some of the adult titles will appeal to younger readers, particularly those who are eager to expand their horizons.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Picture Book Monday with a review of Quest by Aaron Becker

In 2013 a wordless book called Journey was published, and it has brightened the lives of readers all over the world ever since. Journey is a timeless, ageless book that excites the imagination. The creator of Journey then went on to write a sequel, which carries on where the tale in Journey leaves off. I am thrilled to be able to bring you a review of that sequel today.

Aaron Becker
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.

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