Journey to Cassiopeia

Children - Mythology/Fairy Tale
43 Pages
Reviewed on 06/22/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite

Journey to Cassiopeia is a tale of loss and survival written by John K Addis and illustrated by Daniela Olaru. When a man comes home late from work, he hears his young child, Cassie, coughing from her bed. The father enters Cassie's room and they talk about how she was named after Cassiopeia - a woman who was obsessed with her own beauty - as well as the distance and brightness of the beautiful stars overhead. When he finally settles Cassie off to sleep, he retires to his own bed where his wife asks who he was talking to. It is at that time that there is a knock at the door which changes his life forever. Over time, the father learns how to accept that his daughter has gone but finds his own way to deal with the loss, as well as how to be close to Cassie on nights when the stars shine bright.

Although very well written, it took me a couple of reads to actually understand what had happened within the pages of this book. Journey to Cassiopea is not only a remarkable tale, but also shines a light on our own mortality and that nothing can be taken for granted in this world, especially the safety of the ones we love. Losing a child is one of the most painful things that a parent ever has to face - it is a pain that is never extinguished. Learning to accept what has happened, as well as keeping the ones you love inside your heart forever so that their light never goes out, is most definitely a positive way to honor them. John K Addis' heart-wrenching tale, accompanied by the remarkable illustrations of Daniela Olaru, makes Journey to Cassiopeia a book that will forever remain etched within my own heart alongside the memories of my own son. I highly recommend Journey to Cassiopeia to parents, young and old, who have lost a child and are struggling to find a way to keep that child's memory alive. My personal bookshelf is now one high-quality tale richer.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Cassie, short for Cassiopeia, is a sweet eight-year-old girl. She lives part of the time with her mother and the other part with her father and step-mom. One night, when her father comes home late from work, she calls him to her room to talk about the stars. They snuggle together and share their visions of what they see in the night sky. Cassie’s cough disturbs her father, but nothing else seems amiss; at least, not until he says goodnight and goes to his room, greeting his wife, Cassie’s step-mom, who’s surprised that Cassie would call from her mom’s place where she was staying that night. Cassie’s father instantly knows something’s not right and the time they spent together was more hallucination than reality. How could such a young girl be so smart?

John K. Addis’s picture book story, Journey to Cassiopeia, is a hauntingly beautiful story about a special bond between father and daughter, a bond that stretches beyond life itself, beyond the stars, and even further. The illustrations are dark to set the mood, but it’s in the darkness that the stars of the night really shine brightly and that’s what binds this story together. The story is cleverly told through dialogue, primarily between father and daughter, except at the end the dialogue is between father and step-mom. The illustrations fill in the rest of the story. The plot is subtle, following the nighttime aura of child and adult studying the stars together. There is one special constellation, Cassiopeia, after which Cassie was named, and it’s this constellation that reveals the truth of what has happened. At first, one would think this was a children’s picture book story, but, after studying it more closely, it’s more likely an adult picture book story, as it really tugs at the heartstrings that bind a child to a parent.

Astrid Iustulin

Journey to Cassiopeia, an illustrated children's book by John K. Addis, is a sweet bedtime story. Perhaps this is exactly how the author imagined it since the setting is a little girl's bedroom. The child's name is Cassie, and she is the blonde, 8-year-old protagonist of Journey to Cassiopeia. Cassie is still awake one night when her dad came home late, and she invites him to stay with her and chat for a while. With a torch, they light up the bright stars on the ceiling and begin their journey to Cassiopeia.

Journey to Cassiopeia uses more images than words, but both Daniela Olaru's drawings and John K. Addis's text are enchanting. The relationship between Cassie and her father is special, and I consider myself a lucky reader to have been introduced to them. Their story is inspiring and moving at the same time. Journey to Cassiopeia stands out for the depth of the indissoluble bond between the two characters and the strength of their feelings. The tenderness with which the story of Cassie and her father is told (the saddest scene has no words) makes me consider Journey to Cassiopeia as a book full of tact and grace. I must also add that the images, with their intense colors, make readers feel as if they are in the same room with Cassie and her father. From every point of view, Journey to Cassiopeia is a delightful book that I recommend both to children and grownups.