Spotlight on Oliver Jeffers: Children’s Book Must-Haves

Dreamy characters try to do impossible things. And even its sense of humor is dreamy… silly, childlike, and novel, like those dreams that make you laugh in your sleep.

His books hit home with their gorgeous simplicity – both in art and written word. Their themes of loneliness, friendship, and imagination resonate universally. These books remind us what it’s like to be a child, and will make you laugh and love.

Jeffers has been the recipient of more than 25 awards for his books, illustrations, and artwork, including the Blue Peter Book Award, the Irish Book Awards, and The New York Times Book Review. We just love his books and hope you will too. Check out our faves:

How to Catch a Star

By Oliver Jeffers

Published in 2004, How to Catch a Star was Jeffers's first picture book. The protagonist of the story is a little boy who loves stars so very much that he decides to catch one to keep as his own. Unfortunately, he can't figure out a way to reach one. His spaceship is out of petrol, the only seagull he can find isn’t willing to help, and he simply can’t jump high enough. In the end, he does find a star, but in the unlikeliest of places.

Lost and Found

By Oliver Jeffers

The author’s 2005 book, Lost and Found tells of a little boy who finds a seemingly lost penguin. Wanting to be helpful, the boy goes to great lengths to help the penguin make his way back to the South Pole, where penguins belong. Only after making the long and difficult journey does the boy realize that the penguin wasn't really lost; he was just lonely. And without the penguin’s company, the boy is lonely as well.

This sweet story about unlikely friendships has been made into both a live play and an animated film.

The Way Back Home

By Oliver Jeffers

The little boy who is the central character of this 2007 book discovers an airplane in his closet, so he rides it all the way to the moon. Once there, the plane runs out of fuel, leaving the boy stranded, alone, and afraid. A walk with his flashlight leads him to an adorable, little Martian boy, whose engine is broken. They come up with ideas to get them both home.

The plan is for the Earthling to jump home first, as Earth is the closest. But once home, the becomes distracted and forgets about helping his new extraterrestrial friend.

Readers will learn that friends don’t have to look alike to share the same interests and problems, and that being a faithful friend is always important.

The Great Paper Caper

By Oliver Jeffers

The author’s 2008 book has a slightly different angle than the others listed here. The setting of this enchanting story is a forest where things are not as they should be, much to the chagrin of the animals who call the woods their home. As more and more trees disappear, the animals look for clues and find an axe-bearing bear.

Illustrations in this book include full-page paper airplane plans and kids will learn about the importance of conservation and ways that they can help the planet with simple steps, such as recycling.

The four titles listed here are particularly popular, but they are just the beginning. Be sure to check out others, such as This Moose Belongs to Me and The Hueys in The New Jumper, as well as books by other authors that include the artist’s illustrations, like The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home,  both written by Drew Daywalt. And for little ones, don’t miss Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for all the Letters

Along with being delightfully charming stories, Jeffers’ books can be a catalyst for mixed media art projects that kids are sure to enjoy. Tear up magazine pages and construction paper, bring out the watercolors and let the creativity begin!

Which book by Oliver Jeffers is your favorite? Share with us!

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Tags : picture books   

Sarah Watson
Everything Oliver Jeffers makes is beautiful - and he's not bad to look at himself.