Sunday, 19 February 2012

A review of "The Incredible Book Eating Boy" by Oliver Jeffers

Hi People in the Ether,

   So, I started a blog and then got timid and stayed quiet for two weeks - sorry about that.

   I thought I'd bite the bullet by telling you about my favourite picture book - 'The Incredible Book Eating Boy'.

   The ever-so-talented artist and author/illustrator, Oliver Jeffers, really doesn't need my praise - but he's getting it anyway. He's justifiably hugely successful and widely respected. Jeffers' story books are simple, clever, lyrical and beautiful. The style of artwork varies form crisp and bright, to dark and moody.

   The 'Boy' series is heart-warming and smile-inducing, 'Stuck' is giggle-creating, 'The Heart and the Bottle' is moving and elegiac and 'The Great Paper Caper' is an engaging whodunnit.  

   So, while I love all his books, the tale of Henry, the eponymous, book-gobbling hero, is closest to my heart. While his diet initially fills him with wisdom, he seems to have an addictive personality and soon overdoses on information. This results in a muddled head and a sore stomach. So he reverts to eating food  and reading books - "Henry discovered that he loved to read. And he thought that if he read enough he might still become the smartest person on Earth. It would just take a bit longer".

   The prose is sparse and strong. The font is funky and full of character. Jeffers used old books and papers to help create the background textures and illustrations and they lend the book a genuine bibilophilic atmosphere, so much so that it would best be read hidden in the dark aisles of a musty, old second-hand bookshop. And the clever, considerate, cherry on the design-cake is the bite that has been munched out of the book's cover - that never fails to make me smile! I'm so looking forward to his newest work 'The New Jumper'.

      Thanks for reading,

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