This is the first illustrated collaboration Oliver Jeffers has created in picture book form. A Child of Books is a shared venture with typographical artist, Sam Winston. And through their love of words and art, the duo have created an artistically balanced picture book which shows what it means to discover the world of stories.
In this inspiring, lyrical tale about the rewards of reading and sharing stories, a little girl sails her raft "across a sea of words" to arrive at the house of a small boy. There she invites him to come away with her on an adventure. Guided by his new friend, the boy unlocks his imagination and a lifetime of magic lies ahead of him… But who will be next?
This is a love letter to the world of fiction. It's about holding on to your imagination and not growing up. Sam's typography is just breathtaking, with my favourite page being the sea of words. Sam's typographical landscapes are beautifully shaped from excerpts of children’s classics including Treasure Island, Little Women and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Oliver's illustrations are not his usual, using a much simpler, elegant line and simple washes to illustrate his characters.
This isn't your usual 'run of the mill' picture book. From the cover you are presented with a piece of art. The cover art's original canvas is an actual book - a concept that's not entirely new coming from the man who painted it, as An Incredible Book Eating Boy was entirely illustrated on book covers and pages of found books. Oliver Jeffers is not someone who rests on his laurels. He continues to evolve and collaborate with authors and illustrators the world over. This new venture sees him join forces with UK artist Sam Winston, who specialises in using typography to create art. A Child of Books marries the two quite effortlessly, creating a picture book that could easily have been just one illustrator as there isn't a visual divide in style. It's a clever joint effort, as there isn't an ego fighting for space on the page, with Oliver even taking a step back to an older style he adopted earlier in his career to illustrate the story here.
All in all this is a beautiful picture book - it is a piece of art and another triumph for the super talented Oliver Jeffers. A perfect book for all ages and a great present to give to any book lover.
A Child of Books is available to buy now at all good bookshops and from the Walker Books website.