Quest is the incredible sequel to Aaron Becker’s 2014 Caldecott Honor Book, Journey. It, like Journey, is a wordless book with breathtaking illustrations.
I particularly like to use wordless books with my fourth graders. They are a restless bunch, usually wanting to talk amongst themselves rather than listen to a read aloud. With a book like Quest, I stand in front of my students and page through the book for them as they “read” it to themselves.
Even those students who were reluctant to pay attention quieted quickly. Quest held their attention so well, you could only hear the whispers as they “read” this book and said soft “aahhs” at the beautiful illustrations. At the end, my intractable group smiled and clapped. They loved it!
Quest begins at the end of Journey. (To be sure my students understood this, I showed them Journey first and then Quest.) The two children, a boy holding a purple crayon and a girl holding a red crayon, meet a king who gives them a written message, with multiple colors on it. The king is abducted by soldiers and taken away. The boy and girl use their crayons to try to save the king using the clues in the message he gave them. To see if they succeed, read this wonderful book and enjoy.
Journey is beautifully illustrated wordless book and uses color very effectively to tell a story of a good deed and its reward.
As I paged through the book for my classes, I could hear my students whispering the story to themselves. Their spontaneous applause when I finished the book matched my feelings exactly. I love this book so much that I’ve shown it to countless adults since first reading it.
A lonely girl takes her red crayon and draws a door in her bedroom wall. The door leads her into a beautiful forest filled with lanterns and lights. There she finds a small stream. She draws herself a boat and follows the stream to a beautiful city. The city could be from medieval times with its stone walls and golden domes. She floats through a city canal. When she comes to the end of the canal, the girl draws herself a hot air balloon. She flies away and sees a purple bird flying away from city soldiers. When the soldiers catch the bird and place it in a cage, the girl steals the bird’s cage and frees the bird. Caught by the soldiers herself, the girl is suspended in her own cage. The grateful bird brings her a crayon so that she can draw herself a magic carpet. The girl follows the bird until she finds a door. When she opens the door…well, you’ll have to read Journey and find out what happens.
This is a book you won’t want to miss and that you and the children you read to are bound to read over and over again.
I’m a huge fan of wordless books for kids. This genre has really grown. It includes books for young students, like one of my favorites, A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka, and complex and beautiful wordless books like The Arrival, by Shaun Tan, meant for middle schoolers.
Younger students and particularly students who aren’t reading yet get such a feeling of confidence when they can read a story on their own. In the case of my library, students sit quietly and watch the story unfold as I turn the pages for them. Sometimes I have them tell me the story that they just “read”. This time, we just closed the book and smiled.
The Red Sled is not a completely wordless book. The only words that appear are onamatopoeias. The book opens with a red sled sitting outside a house in the snow. A bear wanders by and notices the sled. He decides to take it for a ride, and what a wild ride it is! Soon, a rabbit joins him, then a moose, then two raccoons, an opposum, a porcupine and a mouse. The illustrations are wonderful, particularly the animals expressions as they tumble down the hill on the red sled. My students were so quiet as they read the book, then, they started smiling and soon they were laughing out loud. After the animals finish their sled ride, the bear replaces the sled at the door of the small house. The child who owns the sled walks out the next day, picks up his sled and notices bear tracks. The book closes with the child swinging from the antlers of the moose as the animals go on another sled right that night.
This is a sweet, quick book that kids will really love.