If I had to list a couple of my very favorite books on the girls’ shelves then The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers would definitely make the cut. I might stress over the selection of the other few, but there would be no stress involved in selecting this one. (And a word of warning here – this post is about to take you on one circular loop after another. I’ll be connecting the dots all over the place, just you wait.)
I first read this book at Left Bank Books, in the (former) tiny little corner that was their children’s section – it’s bigger now, hooray! Would it be a stretch to say that this book changed my life? Perhaps. But I still remember when I first read it, so that surely says something.
The pages are a joy to turn – they are thick and stiff and not the least bit floppy. I’m a bit of a paper snob, and there’s a feel to this book that is like no other. The collages, the illustrations, the layering of text from old books, old hand scribbled notebooks, the various fonts, all hand lettered and colored – it’s truly a joy to take it all in and you see something new each time you read it. It was my first introduction to Jeffers’ skinny stick legged characters, with their sharp noses and minimal details. He masters expression with the teeniest of pencil strokes, and I could read his looping script all day long.
But really, the illustrations are just the icing on the cake because I.love.this.story.
Henry discovers – in a fit of hunger? – that once he ingests a book, the information contained within those pages are somehow transferred directly to his brain. His addiction grows rapidly, and before long he’s eating stacks and stacks of books and getting smarter by the day. Of course it doesn’t end well, but in the end Henry finally remembers there is pleasure in the process of reading – not just the shoving in of information – and you, the reader, get it too.
And so we became huge Oliver Jeffers fans.
Stuck is our latest acquisition, and it cracks us up, every single time we read it (twice this week).
And here’s the really exciting news – Oliver Jeffers is coming to our fair city. And even better – he’s coming to our book fair! So gather up your Jeffers collection or come purchase a new one and meet Jeffers and get your books signed. He’ll be at Left Bank Books in the CWE on Sunday, November 18th, from 12:30pm-1pm. Then you can head over to hear him talk and meet and greet again at the St. Louis County Library at 2pm that afternoon. Details here. The event is free, but I’d recommend calling and reserving a seat. He’ll be reading from his new book – and you can pick up a copy of that at the book fair if you’d like.
The girls are beyond excited that they get to meet him, in the very bookstore where we first discovered him, and we have our stack of books ready. Hopefully we’ll see you there!
I would recommend any of these books for any age – especially for 3 years and up, although my little one enjoyed them much earlier and the oldest still reads them regularly. Jeffers has a really lovely website here, and I love the prints that are available, and even some jewelry. Penguin pendant anyone? There is a trailer for the movie Lost and Found that I watched last night. I think the girls would love to watch that as well. Check his site out here and see you soon.
Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!