What a remarkable piece of creativity this book is. I have admired Oliver Jeffers since I read the Crayons books [The Day the Crayons Quit, and The Day the Crayons Came Home], and think his work is wonderful.
However I could NEVER have imagined something like this. It’s a picture book, but it’s not. It’s maybe for kids, but really not. It’s really for adults, but also for kids…. The storyline is deceptively simple, and will appeal to all those who know just how important stories are in our lives, from birth to our final destination whatever that is.
But it’s in the actualisation of the words of the story on each page that the magic lies. Every two page spread is illustrated – it’s a picture book, after all – but beside, over, under, around the child of books, part of every page is composed of text from wonderful stories. Gulliver’s Travels, the Swiss Family Robinson, Peter Pan and Wendy, fairy tales and many more are woven, drawn, imagined into amazing backgrounds. It’s a delight. It’s also nearly impossible (for my eyes, any way) to read the background illustrations, but I think it’s the effect of these illustrations which is so wonderful. They support the text of the storyline brilliantly and I really, really hope that Jeffers and Winston create other books together.
Meanwhile, I encourage you to buy this book, borrow it from your library, give it to your teenagers and your granny – it’s indeed a book for all ages.
Reviewed by Sue Esterman
A Child of Books
by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston
Published by Walker Books