Reviews /

It’s the Journey Not the Destination

Authored by Carl Honore
Illustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell
Published by Magic Cat Publishing

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The note at the beginning of this non-fiction travel book reads, ‘My hope is that reading these slow journeys will fire your imagination and inspire you to explore the world at your own pace.’ This book is designed to entice and excite readers to travel. It is organised around four forms of transport: journeys by foot, by bike, by boat and by train. Each double page is dedicated to one journey, and the adventures take place across the globe, on six of the seven continents. They range from the well-known such as trekking The Inca Trail, sailing the length of the river Nile and journeying on the Orient Express to less familiar routes such as walking along the Appian Way in Italy, cycling along The Underground Railroad Bicycle Route from Alabama to Canada, and birdwatching in the Nyungwe Rainforest in Rwanda.

The contents page is organised by the mode of transport, and before each of the four sections, readers are presented with visual information. A map of the world identifies the locations of the journeys, the countries, and continents where they take place, and fascinating labelled drawings of each route are included. This book is written to encourage curiosity about the wider world, and it is indeed persuasive. The double pages contain a wealth of interesting information about geography, history, wildlife and the environment. The chunking of this information and the layout make it accessible and appealing to readers.

Kevin and Kristen Howdeshell’s illustrations present a rather romantic view of each adventure. Defined outlines, clear shapes and textured use of colour evoke each of the journeys. Tones of greens, browns and blues represent Alpe d’Huez in France and blues and reds present Rajasthan in India. The style of the visual text brings to mind vintage advertising posters.

This book could encourage open-mindedness about the world beyond our own environment; the journeys presented here are exciting and varied. It is important and timely. It’s the Journey Not the Destination is more than the title suggests. It can be navigated in many ways and revisited. This would make an excellent addition to Key Stage 2 classroom libraries and might be dipped into and read aloud to children. It would also support the teaching of reading.