A Child of Books
by Sam Winston, illus. by Oliver Jeffers
one of the most stunning collaborations this year, A Child of Books is the creation of Sam Winston and Oliver Jeffers.
It is an ode to books, words, and every person who became a reader because of a
children’s book. The book starts with a girl in pigtails sitting on a raft, her
feet dangling in words that read, “Once upon a time there was a child who loved
to read”. The text is hand-written by Jeffers as well. The sailboat raft the
little girl sits on has a sail that is a piece of paper. She sails through the
pages, across a sea of words from Gulliver’s
Travels, The Swiss Family Robinson,
and Robinson Crusoe. She meets a boy,
and together, they explore.
On the page that reads, “Some people have forgotten where I live,” the little boy peeks through the window, where an old man sits reading a paper labeled “Serious Stuff,” and numbers fill his glasses. The reader cannot see his eyes, he is so blinded by the “Important Things” that he is reading.
They travel over “mountains of make-believe,” and lose themselves in “forests of fairy tales,” where the trees are made up of the spines of books.
Where the girl and boy travel through inky illustrations with the occasional pop of blue or red, when they come to the world of stories, color explodes off the page. And in a row of gray, dull buildings, sits one little house that is brightly colored. The little girl stands in the door way, and the boy walks on, carrying the book in his arms, off to find another friend and another adventure.
“Our house is a home of invention, where anyone at all can come, for imagination is free.”