Have you ever devoured a book?
I thought I had – until I met Henry.
He loves them so much, he physically eats them. It starts page by page but before long he can swallow an encyclopaedia whole, a bit like a snake or Baby Bookworm’s great uncle who can suck down a whole jelly (quite the Christmas Day party trick).
His habit starts to make him feel happier, healthier and more intelligent until he discovers that those old sayings persist for a reason – you can get too much of a good thing and everything in moderation.
Oliver has a real knack of taking and exploring a simple idea in a thoughtful and humorous way that both small children and parents can appreciate.
A book about books and the benefits they bring is a beautiful thing. And as child who was always told I’d swallowed a dictionary, it never fails to raise a wry smile from me.
But what really adds the stardust is the artwork. Oliver has another career as a fine artist and his picture books push boundaries.
While Henry is very similar to the boy in Oliver’s debut How to Catch A Star and three subsequent ones – Lost & Found, The Way Back Home and Up & Down – the illustrations are all created on pages and jackets of old books, with sections of text used in a collage effect.
The book ends with a heartwarming revelation for our hero and a witty little nod to his former habit that we just love.
It’s so good, you’ll want to eat it all up.
The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers. £6.99 (paperback), HarperCollins Children’s. Buy from Amazon
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