A Child of Books

by Oliver Jeffers (Author) Sam Winston (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

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.

Publisher's Weekly

Jeffers (The Day the Crayons Quit) writes the text for this hymn to the power of imagination, and he and typographic artist Winston collaborate on the spreads, in which Jeffers's witty pen-and-ink drawings meet Winston's manipulated blocks of type, composed of passages from children's classics. "I am a child of books," a straight-haired girl says; she's sitting on a raft, dangling her feet in a river of Winston's tiny letters. "I come from a world of stories/ and upon my imagination/ I float." A page turn reveals the raft sailing across an ocean of Winston's word waves. Boldface titles buried within the words reveal their sources-The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, Treasure Island, and others. Together with a boy in striped shorts, the girl journeys to a cave, forest, and outer space, each scene enhanced with Winston's altered text, as when the passages from Frankenstein create the dense fur of a monster marauding a castle. Though more an artist's creation than a children's story, the energy of the images bursts from the pages, "for imagination is free," Jeffers concludes. All ages.

Copyright 2016 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 1 Up-A gorgeous, innovative musing on the power of storytelling. A nameless young girl who calls herself a child of books narrates in lyrical, spellbinding verse. Some, she says, have forgotten the importance of stories, but she finds a boy and introduces him to her world, a land created through a marriage of Jeffers's evocative art and Winston's masterly use of typography. In one scene, the children climb "mountains of make-believe" whose peaks and valleys are constructed from text from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan; in another, the pair play hide-and-seek in a forest of trees whose branches are made up of text from various fairy tales. As the two travel farther into the land of imagination, the art slowly takes on a vibrant, joyful tone. Spots of color are added here and there until, finally, loose, sketchy black-and-white line drawings of the children against spare backgrounds are replaced with rich, full-color spreads. Even the choice of which books to excerpt is inspired, and those who take a closer look at the pictures will be rewarded (words and sentences from tales of terror such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow comprise a furry, horned monster who menaces a castle; the children escape by climbing down the castle on a rope made up of prose from "Rapunzel"). A full listing of the excerpted works is included on the endpapers; the majority of works are British classics from the Western canon. VERDICT Use this wholly original celebration of the story as a jumping-off point for conversations about art and writing. A masterpiece.

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers makes art and tells stories. From his highly acclaimed debut, How to Catch a Star he has gone on to create a collection of bestselling picture books which have been translated into many language all over the world, winning multiple awards including the Nestlé Children's Book Prize Gold Award, Blue Peter Book of the Year, and CBI Book of the Year, and he has been shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal five times. Lost and Found was made into a BAFTA-winning animated film. Like the boy, Oliver has been on many adventures, but so far, he has never got stuck on the moon. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Oliver now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and young son.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
September 20, 2021
Age Range
6 - 9 years
Horn Book Guide
None None

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