Tuesday 8 September 2015

The Great Journey by Agathe Demois and Vincent Godeau (Tate Publishing)

In an age when kids are increasingly looking to digital forms of entertainment to pass their time, can books compete using new and innovative tricks to win new readers over? We think so - step this way for a great journey inside one such book!
It's actually quite difficult to imagine how "The Great Journey" works. Agathe Demois and Vincent Godeau have produced a book that sounds impossible on paper, a book that hides a story within a story, designs within designs - and those elements can only be seen with the aid of a magical viewer. No batteries, no screens, no need for a tablet or phone - just good-old-fashioned visual trickery that works absolutely perfectly.

I had heard a little bit about this book but wanted to let Charlotte loose on it, telling her absolutely nothing about it other than the barest details. The book looks - at first glance - like a very odd and strange collection of squiggles and scribbles that form vague patterns but inside is the story of a bird's journey across a magical land.

Using the magic viewer (thoughtfully attached to the book), children can discover the world through the bird's eyes as it flies across the landscape. This curious red magnifying glass is a magical device you see, it has the ability to see through objects in the story!

Don't believe us? Here's a tiny teaser of how it works...

Hold the magic viewer over a page spread to reveal the intricate details hidden below the surface!
The effect this had on Charlotte was electric! As she scanned over the pages with the red lens, the blue linework underneath each red image was revealed. It's a wonderfully low-tech trick but it's massively effective and Charlotte was completely absorbed in this book until she'd seen everything.

As we follow the bird's journey from countryside to city, from deep jungle to the ocean depths the story unfolds and is revealed through the lens. Every time Charlotte found something new and cool, she'd run to find one of us to show us what she'd found.

I love that something as simple as a book with a red viewfinder could elicit such excitement! Wonderful stuff!

Charlotte's favourite bit: She's a clever stick, and soon discovered that holding the lens directly in front of her eye would let her see entire page spreads at a time (shhhh, don't tell your little ones this!!)

Daddy's favourite bit: What a fantastic and innovative way to tell a story. A book that has such a wonderful effect on children as they find out how that magic lens works, and how many tiny little details they can discover nestling in the pages.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Tate Publishing)

"The Great Journey"

Written by Agathe Demois

Illustrated by Vincent Godeau

Published by Tate Publishing

Release Date (Hardback): 1st September 2015