Great Reads of Kids 4# – Oliver Jeffers

I thought this week I would look at just one author for my great reads for kids post and I selected Oliver Jeffers who has cropped up several times recently in our library picks or other places.  Jeffers is up near the top our list of the greatest makers on kids books ever!  While we love Mem Fox and Patricia Allen and Lynley Dodd and Shirley Hughes there is something much more unique, eccentric and vivid to books by Oliver Jeffers.  Now I can’t say we’ve read them all, but we have read enough to know that any we pick up with become firm favourites.

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Image from http://oliverjeffersworld.com/library/

It all started with a book called Stuck.  An absurd little story about a boy whose kite gets stuck in a tree.  Miss Three fell in love with this book and from about the age of 2 she requested it every night for her bedtime story.  Normally this kind of long-term repetitiveness makes me loathe the book after some time, and I may or may not have hidden certain books to give myself a break from reading them.  Stuck never did that, night after night we read it and it remained funny, dramatic and interactive.  Jeffers has the wonderful skill of being able to tell a story with very few words yet injected with character, curiosity and humour – his pictures tell as much if not more of the story than his perfectly selected words.  Every night we read this the girls would beg me to tell them what the fireman, or whale, or neighbour no longer across the street would be saying in certain scenarios.  We told the story a little differently each time and that’s what sustained us for oh so long.  It helps that before this discovery the only books Miss Three had connected with were Spot or Maisy books – they were wearing a little thin!

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Image from http://oliverjeffersworld.com/library/

The second Jeffers discovery was quite different in both look and story, but still with that reserved use of language and illustrations that make the reader become the storyteller.  It was a book called the Great Paper Caper and is about a group of animals who discover that a thief has been stealing bits of their forest.  They set out as detectives to discover the truth of the matter.  It’s very funny! We’ve since borrowed this at least four times – perhaps I should just buy them a copy!

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Image from http://oliverjeffersworld.com/library/

Another book we have monopolized from the library is one of the Hueys series.  Miss Five launches herself for this if she sees it on the display shelves.  It’s called The Hueys in The New Jumper – a book about being the same and being different.  We’ve yet to find the other Hueys books, but I will be putting them on reserve this week.  I have no doubt we will enjoy them as much as any others.

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Finally comes a book called The Heart and the Bottle, about the curiosity of childhood that seems to, at some point, get put aside for the sake of self-preservation.  It’s sadder than the others, a sort of melancholy tale of growing up.  But rest assured all is well in the end as the girl, now a woman, rediscoveries the wonders of the world with the help of a child.

There are several others on the Jeffers list that we are yet to read – my sister-in-law has highly recommended The Day the Crayons Quit (which Jeffers did in collaboration with another author) – but you can be sure we will be making our way through the collection.  

Oh and if you want to check out a little more about this wonderful author and the world he has created have a look at Oliver Jeffers World and this little clip of himself and how he works – it looks like so much fun!

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4 Responses to Great Reads of Kids 4# – Oliver Jeffers

  1. We love Oliver Jeffers too! Our favourite by far is “Henry the Book-Easting Boy”!

  2. rcra says:

    I am looking forward to more of these. Some of them are ones we’re not ready for yet.
    We have the Hueys new jumper and have loved the Moose one (“this moose belongs to me”?), but I must recommend It Was Not Me, too, another Hueys one. I collected a few while I was teaching, but Bub laughs at the Hueys arguing every time. I’m slowly getting through the others, but only when I find them at the library, coz Hub doesn’t want me to by any more books. Fool.
    We also have the “Once there was a boy…” set, which includes How to Catch a Star, Lost and Found, and The Way Back Home. The first is my least favourite of the three; for some reason I feel for the star being acquired by the boy for ‘his very own’. I do hope he puts out a few stories about girls.

    • Barbara Good says:

      The heart and the bottle is about a girl. I actually love that these are generally books about boys because I struggle to get my two to read books with boy central figures. Oh there are so many that I still need to read.
      Not buying more kids books, noooooo!! I’m not sure I could tolerate that and my kids have many, many books already.

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