Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Anno's Journey

Anno's Journey

Mitsumasa Anno
Wordless Picture Book
For ages 4 and up
Penguin, 1997   ISBN: 0698114337

A man arrives in a new land. He buys a horse and he begins a journey. He travels though all sorts of settlements and see he sees all kinds of things. He sees people at work and at play, and he sees the little dramas that make life interesting. There are a pair of men about to duel; there is a romantic couple who declare their love for one another. The man witnesses a wedding, he watches a race, he goes through a town that is hosting a fair, and his walks through a market.

This incredible collection of images from Europe shows towns, villages and country settlements from the past and from the present. On this journey a train coexist in a town where some of the women wear full skirts and where a family who are moving use two oxen to transport their goods from their old to their new home. As we look at the double page spread art, we see scenes from famous paintings and literature. There is the Pied Piper of Hamelin, and over there the wolf is watching Little Red Riding Hood.

This tribute to the history, architecture, literature and art of Europe is engrossing and highly entertaining. Small stories unfold and we wonder what the man in the horse is thinking. Is he enjoying this journey of his and where is he going next?

Mitsumasa’s wordless book is a joy to explore. Throughout the book the author fills the pages with meticulous details and clever little visual tricks, which one has to look very carefully to find.