Oliver Jeffers is a much-acclaimed illustrator and author, and one of our favourites, so when I saw he had a new book coming out I snapped it up.
Admittedly this is a Christmas present for the Little Monkey, so I confess that it hasn’t been given the full toddler treatment yet (stay tuned for a fully tested review of the Night Owl’s gift later this week — because she’s too little to care and we’re a bit mean). But I’ll tell you what I think of the book, and what I think kids will think, and you can ignore me if you think the testing phase is critical to a good review. 😉
A Child of Books, by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston
Value for money
A beautiful, whimsical and imaginative book. The adventures that the child and her friend and experience through their books will appeal to most kids, whether they prefer imaginary adventures or real ones. A lovely story that will work best for ages 3-8 but has scope for kids both below and above that range too.
A Child of Books is a whimsical, poetic story which weaves a tale of the influence books can have on us. It intends to offer a modern twist to classics, and the meticulous-yet-rustic illustrations feature passages from many traditional children’s stories.
Though it has many pages, the story itself is short and sweet, with most pages just having one short phrase on them. However, the text incorporated in the illustrations gives it a flexibility — for the impatient young child you can read through quite quickly, but once they become a bit more engaged you can read parts of the text in the pictures, or talk about those stories.
The illustrations, as well as providing a hat-tip to classic children’s literature, are beautifully detailed and weave gently around the story (or the story weaves around them). Heaps of talking points here — the images show the child and her friend having all kinds of adventures (floating on clouds; sailing across the sea; venturing into space). The classic text that is woven into the illustrations always relates to what is happening on the page — for example:
The monster here is constructed from lines of text from Frankenstein, and the rope being let down from the castle is some of the story of Rapunzel. Lovely layering.
A Child of Books is a delightful book. I’m expecting the Little Monkey will be loving the adventurous pictures, and once he works out there are words in the pictures he’ll probably want us to read as many of them as we can. And we’ll enjoy reading it to him, discovering all the quirky wee details together, and seeing where our imagination leads us.
Awesome or Average: Awesome
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