An Examination of Children's Literature and Picture Books
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Ezra Jack Keats "The Trip"

The Trip as with many of Keats's other children's books is very visually rich, portraying with rough paint strokes and grungy colors the feel of New York Cities poorest districts. Obviously this portrayal is of a past rather then a present New York, yet the work is still a wonderful way to show how children will still play happily without as much concern for their surroundings as some might think. Of course Keats’s walls are covered with childlike graffiti rather then other forms, however as this is a children's book an exact representation would actually detract from the overall importance of the book.
The story Keats provides us in this books is one which has played out many times in the past, one which because of its commonality has become somewhat of a stereo type in so far as books for children are concerned. Keats however as a master story teller is able to give this theme a fresh look. In the story a boy has just moved to a new neighborhood, one in which his apartment doesn't even have steps for him to sit on. Louie (the main character) is unhappy about this and feels lonely and bored within this new place. Its interesting to notice that its not so much that Louie does not wish to do thing, it is more related to the fact that Louie is unable to do what he normally did in his old neighborhood to meet people, so he has to just go inside.

Once inside his house he puts together a box with a scene painted on the inside of it, and a small plane dangling from the top of the box, so that it appears to be flying through the landscape Louie has created. In many ways this helps connect adults with this character, for we tend to like creative children. Thus this theme of the creative lonely child is fairly well repeated.
Ezra Jack Keats makes this same story unique by allowing this child the opportunity to return home in his imagination in a strange sort of way. For as the boy stares at the plane he has made he imagines that he flies in it back to his old neighborhood. There he is chased by people in masks. In the end these people turn out to be his friends trick or treating, and so he has the opportunity to play with his old friends in his imagination.
What makes this unique is that by putting the boy in the position where he meet his old friends in masks and was afraid of them Keats is allowing the Louie the opportunity to see how what is scary is the unknown. And given the opportunity to take of their masks many people can be friendly. This then allows for the lead up to Louie going outside to trick or treat, safe behind his own mask he joins masked children.