Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A review of "The Hueys in The New Jumper" by Oliver Jeffers

Hey there, People in the Ether,

   Oliver Jeffers' latest irresistible and witty creation is about a breed of creatures called the Hueys.

   In a world of Hueys, where every Huey looks, thinks and acts the same, one Huey called Rupert decides he wants to proclaim his individuality, he wants to be different from the crowd. He knits himself a rather fetching orange, zig-zaggy jumper and, though this freakish behaviour is initially frowned-upon, the other Hueys soon catch on. First up, Rupert's best friend  who "thought being different was interesting". Soon all the Hueys have, like sheep, followed the trend and are all sporting the orange woolly jumpers. Now that everybody is different, they are all the same again. But, luckily Rupert has a snazzy accessory with which to rectify the frustrating situation.

   Jeffers' artwork is sparse, mostly simple line drawings with bursts of colour for the orange jumpers. There are occasional pages drenched in background colour and they lift the sequence nicely. The Hueys are bean-like creatures with few features but plenty of little muttered statements, thought bubbles and furrowed brows to indicate emotion. They have strange hands and naturally, for Jeffers, no feet though they do possess excellently scribbled shadows. And, as ever, the hand lettering of the text is warm and charismatic.

   I do adore Jeffers, his quirky illustrations and witty, charming stories. And though this is a simpler, sparser story it is still engaging and enjoyable. The Hueys were inspired by the fact that Jeffers' grandfather, who is grandfather and great-grandfather to many, terms each of his gaggle of grandchildren and great-grandchildren "Huey".

   Personally, I found added pleasure in this story because Rupert's best friend is called Gillespie, which just happens to be my surname! So, when I turned to that spread for the first time, the discovery made me squeal - and my squeal, as my boyfriend can attest, is super loud and super pitchy. It made my day. And I agree with my name sake, in picture books as in life, being different is most definitely interesting.

     Thanks for reading,

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