Ezra Jack Keats "The
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.