This breathless finale to Becker's Journey trilogy (Journey, 2013; Quest, 2014) takes readers back to the intricate interior of an alternate world where crayons wield power.
To escape the loneliness of the house, where father furrows his brow over a drafting table upstairs, a white child with a brown pageboy takes up a red crayon and draws a door. Readers familiar with the series know what twinkles on the other side—a purple-plumed bird, trees hung with bobbing lanterns, a Byzantine castle just beyond. New readers will find themselves startled and exhilarated alongside the father when he discovers the improvised door and steps through. Becker's elaborate watercolor-and-pen illustrations capture the scope and mystery of this other place, where, in a few strokes, crayons conjure marvels. Such ambitious, elaborate pictures demand time, and an insistent, pulsing plot battles with their embedded reverie. A wicked, horned warrior invades the castle, seizing the magic crayons from crowned royals (the first child, a second, and a king). The father and child's mutual adventure unspools silently but with urgency. Readers remember the dad's distraction, which started both this book and the trilogy itself. When cave paintings depict the dad as the hero, casting out the villain, hearts swell and eyes well.
A fantastic final leg to a reading journey that altered, expanded, and enriched the landscape of children's literature—and surely many young people's lives. (Picture book. 3-8)