Oliver Jeffers is the author and artist of so many children’s books that I love, so it is going to be fairly difficult for me not to be glowing in my review of his latest offering The Boy: His Stories and How They Came To Be.
I discovered Oliver Jeffers when my first daughter was born, his book Lost and Found was one of the first books that I read to my daughter when she was old enough to move onto books that had actual words in them and beautifully woven story – don’t get me wrong, picture books are great, but books with words and a story…I was in heaven at last! Seeing how much my daughter loved this book; we read it literally every day. We soon set about acquiring his other books and works and a love of Oliver Jeffers came to be. This same appreciation for Oliver Jeffers was shared with my second daughter, with my first daughter even reading these books to her sister (how magical is that) and when I saw that this book was coming out – there was no way I wasn’t going to review it!
The Boy: His Stories and How They Came To Be is a beautifully crafted book, coming in a stunning hardback and dripping with fabulous never seen before content, including a special letter from Oliver Jeffers. Every story has exquisite and quite brilliant sketches and notes from Jeffers archives, which show the construction, planning and creative process of each his wonderful and well known books.
The spectacular collection of books included in this volume are some of Oliver Jeffers much lorded works – How to Catch a Star, Lost and Found, The Way Back Home and Up and Down. I know what you are all thinking, I already have these books, why on earth would I want a compendium of them – trust me you have never seen anything more breathtaking and more exquisite than this book!
The stories that are held within these pages are phenomenal in their own right, once again when it arrived I set about reading all the stories again to my children, for like the thousandth time – they sat there enthused enjoying the stories and illustrations yet again.
I think that best thing about this book is that it can be used as an educational tool for both young children and adults alike. It can showcase to children the work, planning, dedication and construction of storytelling; and in doing so hopefully enthusing young storytellers and illustrators of the future. And for adults or those with an interest in illustration it is an invaluable source of knowledge – it’s almost a how to guide. Jeffers notes and doodles help showcase a story from it’s inception to completion – it’s an incredible book and one that I am truly glad exists in the world.
This book is incredible and needs to be seen to be believed – Oliver Jeffers should be celebrated as one of the best children’s authors working today – he offers children uplifting tales, time and time again – in an age where children are being stripped of their innocence far too soon – Jeffers ensures that they can keep that childlike wonder burning within for just that little bit longer. Jeffers stories also have a moral to them, which I personally think this is what endears his stories to parents and children alike – they are enjoyable, funny and heartwarmingly special!
So if you are looking for something special to give a child for Christmas look no further than The Boy: His Stories and How They Came To Be…..even adults can enjoy it too!
The Boy: His Stories and How They Came To Be is published by HarperCollins and is available here.
Oliver Jeffers graduated from The University of Ulster in 2001 with First Class honours. His outstanding talent has been recognised by several high-profile awards, including the Nestlé Children’s Book Prize Gold Award. ‘Lost and Found’ animation was broadcast on Channel 4. Oliver lives and works in Brookyln, New York.
Reviewed by Ross Jeffery
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