Anno's Journey Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-07-15 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 25 user ratings

"This wordless picture book depicts a traveler passing through the countrysides and towns of Europe. Along the way he is surrounded by scenes from famous works of art and literature as well as many other humorous events.

Since it is wordless, any age could enjoy looking at it. Starting with pre-K, children may be able to search for the more familiar scenes (e.g. Pied Piper of Hamlin, Red Riding Hood), while middle school through adults could seek the more detailed references (e.g. Don Quixote, masterpiece paintings).

The art is beautiful! Very detailed watercolors depict a journey across a land that begins as open countryside then farmland, then villages, then a town, then a castle/walled town, then gradually back to open countryside. At the same time the reader may detect a journey across time as we see transportation change from horse drawn carts and manual farming to steam locomotive trains and a tractor working the land. A scene with a hot dog cart next to a wooden market cart illuminates the juxtaposition of old and new. Along with these subtle depictions, the reader may be surprised to recognize famous cultural references in the scenes.

The book needs a comprehensive list of scenes to find. Children without much cultural exposure may find a few fairy tale references and should find amusement in other scenes (e.g. the race, the circus) but may not be able to appreciate the depth of creativity. Without guidance, they may look for the journeyman and think it a simplified Where’s Waldo exercise.

How could I use this book?
Challenge kids to a scavenger hunt, either guided with a list of scenes to find for younger students, or unguided for older students to explore the illustrations. Have older students compare Anno’s depictions of masterworks to images of the original. Identify scenes from literature and traditional tales and read them aloud or individually. Point out scenes that students may not recognize and read or provide the source work.

Read-alikes (3 minimum; print and other media – but must include print)
Anno’s many other journey books, including U.S.A. and specific European nations.
The Red Book
You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan MuseumYou Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum

What I found: movers packing cart move to town; Beethoven in window; “new” mailbox looks strange in the world seen so far; start of a romance as boy presents flowers to girl.
race starts; kid escaping schoolhouse;
race finishes; duel near the woods;
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte - Seurat;
kids ring toss to church steeple; statue on column appears to be woman in line;
Pied Piper; man appears to lead horse that is actually atop a column;
kid climbing in cannon; prisoner escaping; Romeo and Juliet;
Pinocchio; John Wayne beside movie theater; Hot dog cart;
glass on bar sign begins to fill; musician falls off roof; Kermit & Big Bird (found them!);
mover unloading cart from earlier; bar sign glass filling up; red balloon floats away;
Bremen Town Musicians; Parking sign;
pulling the Great Turnip; Don Quixote tilting at windmill;
Red Riding Hood & Wolf; Aesop’s dog looking at reflection; and I KNOW I didn’t see it all!!
" said.

" I could sit and look through these pictures for hours. They are beautiful and detailed. My boys mostly liked seeing the few trains and tractors though. " said.

" What a great storybook - so many tales are woven into the images...It is perfect for sharing with kids who are engaged and who embrace the back story. I love the simple, elegant art. Seek out his other books. " said.

"Anno's Journey by Mitsumasa Anno made me nostalgic for travels in Europe! In this wordless book, the main character travels throughout many different places and landscapes in Europe. The illustrations draw you in, making you see the many beautiful differences in the places to which he travels. It is also engaging for the reader to try to find the main character in the illustrations because there is so much to look at. Admittedly, I struggle with wordless books, but I can see how this book can make someone's imagination run wild." said.

"Anno’s Journey is undoubtedly a beautiful and detailed exploration of rural and urban communities, a fantastic work of art that can be appreciated by anyone. It put me in the position of an anonymous observer, which I imagine to be quite similar to Anno, who created this book during his travels across Europe. I think that this position is made all the more prevalent through the fact that there are no words in this story, perhaps mirroring the solitude that Anno felt during his trip.
It was after a few re-reads that I found that following Anno’s journey was actually quite a grounding experience- it hones in on the complexities of individual life, which we do not always notice when travelling through our own lives. Perhaps we all need to pay more attention to what is going on around us, rather than being stuck in our own personal bubble.
I question how I would actually use this book in school, as I feel that reading this story is and ought to be an individual experience, not to be dictated by a teacher or other children. I think that it should to be something that children can look through quietly on their own, rather than being a point of discussion.
" said.

"Album sans texte qui met en scène un personnage principal, petit bonhomme à chapeau pointu tout de bleu vêtu, venu de la mer en barque qui traverse une Europe du Moyen-Age jusque dans les années 1950 environ. Cet album retrace son voyage.

Titre énigmatique s'il en est car le paysage que traverse ce personnage que l'on retrouve à chaque page, avançant inexorablement, change non seulement de lieu mais d'époque, en une journée (selon le titre).

Truffé de détails, ce petit bijou graphique nous entraîne dans un jeu contextuel ( sur les multiples personnages et objets qui se répètent une page après l'autre dans des situations différentes créant des décalages très drôles, émouvants) et intertextuel (par le jeu des multiples références littéraires et artistiques cachées dans les dessins).

Un livre pour tous les âges qu'on aime aussi bien enfant (car les multiples situations et l'absence de texte permettent à l'enfant de s'exprimer sur ce qu'il voit et ce qu'il ne voit pas) qu'adulte ( on cherche avec une jubilation non dissimulée les références de chaque page, les détails rappelant une peinture, un livre, un conte connu).

Bref, un florilège d'images et des histoires foisonnantes dans lesquelles on se plonge avec délectation. Un appel à l'imagination.
" said.

"Have loved this book with my sister and brother since we were little..its a story told entirely in pictures of a man and his horse traveling through Europe and all the detail and village life and its watch him take off by boat, acquire a horse and go through towns both large and small..You see rice being cut, logs being cut down lots of domestic farm work, people moving by cart, kids playing, a couple getting engaged, a foot race starting and ending, a duel taking place by the young lovers, people outside enjoying cotton candy and games such as ring around the church tower, the Pied Piper leading children out of Hamlin, a wedding, people erecting a church roof, a thief escaping a castle, an outdoor market, a bustling street carnival with a fortune teller and lion, a huge parade, a modernized town complete with a train, people pulling a giant turnip, a lonesome floating red balloon, Little Red Riding Hood and so much more before this mysterious figure wanders off alone..You can spend hours just searching the pages and finding mini stories that continue on in some pages and leave you wondering about the mini lives he has depicted..Just a book for all to wonder and look upon as you always see something new and its great fun finding more and more to catch your eye…So cute." said.

" Oh, my! What a breathtaking book, wordless and filled with thousand upon thousand of small images in the context of a larger picture. While at times when an artist attempts this, it seems confusing, someone Mitsumassa Anno did a splendid job of it all. " said.

September 2018 New Book:

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