Review: A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada/Candlewick Press. Thank you!
Publication: September 6, 2016 by Candlewick Press
New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers and fine artist Sam Winston deliver a lyrical picture book inspiring readers of all ages to create, to question, to explore, and to imagine.
A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Now a lifetime of magic and adventure lies ahead of him . . . but who will be next?
Combining elegant images by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston’s typographical landscapes shaped from excerpts of children’s classics and lullabies, A Child of Books is a stunning prose poem on the rewards of reading and sharing stories—an immersive and unforgettable reading experience that readers will want to pass on to others.
“I am a child of books. I come from a world of stories and upon my imagination I float.”
Oliver Jeffers is, arguably, a very well known and respected force in the world of children’s literature (and beyond). His work appeals to both children and adults- from the very young just discovering board books to grown ups who are lovers of words and art. From Lost and Found to The Incredible Book Eating Boy to his illustrative work in Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Came Home books, Jeffers has consistently created and produced innovative and beautiful work. In A Child of Books, Jeffers teems up for the first time with fine artist Sam Winston, and their collaborative efforts here have created something of excellence.
Through the relatively simple narrative of a young girl- describing herself as a child of books- readers are taken on an ingenious ride between stories and worlds of words. Artist Sam Winston created the typographical landscapes that are the backdrops throughout the story and they are magnificent. A few examples: as the young girl rescues a lost young boy into her world of books, they climb mountains made up of sentences in various angles and varied lengths; they escape a monster who is entirely made up of sentences and words from Frankenstein and other dark tales; and the two children rest and sleep on clouds shaped and curved by lyrics of songs and lullabies. The combination of Winston’s typography and art with Jeffers’ story and art is quite something to behold- it’s a mixture of styles and approaches that fuse to bring about new beauty. Even while exploring some big themes we’ve seen before in picture books- such as the immeasurable power of stories and words for all children – Winston and Jeffers have made it utterly fantastical and fresh.
Overall, A Child of Books is gorgeous, a superb example of visual engineering and inventive storytelling in picture books. A festival for the eyes (this book must be explored in person!), a love letter to the magic and unending importance of books, this picture book is one I highly recommend for everyone.
I received a copy of this title courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada/Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.