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. Agent: Paul Moreton, Bell Lomax Moreton Agency. (Sept.)
… a fresh and fascinating collaboration between two gifted masters.
—The New York Times Book Review
Jeffers and Winston’s first collaboration is a celebration of the child’s world, illustrated in sumptuous double-page spreads featuring explosions of images borrowed from unforgettable sources...Every one of its elements—the haunting prose poem executed in hand- lettered words; the pictures done in watercolor, pencil, and digital collage; and the objects built from words borrowed from classic stories—all work together toward a richly harmonious whole. An irresistible invitation to read.
—Booklist (starred review)
Jeffers and Winston's mixed-media artwork, an inventive combination of watercolor, pencil, and digital collage, elicits strong notice from readers. Jeffers' uneven, hand-lettered text contrasts dramatically with Winston's digitally manipulated lines of classic prose...An ingenious, confident, and pretty cool exploration of literary delight.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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...Use this wholly original celebration of the story as a jumping-off point for conversations about art and writing. A masterpiece.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Jeffers and typographic artist Winton collaborate on a hymn to the power of imagination, in which witty pen-and-ink drawings meet manipulated blocks of type, composed of passages from children’s classics...the energy of the images bursts from the pages, “for imagination is free.”
This delightful treasure hunt through children's literature will have you digging through your bookshelves, hunting for forgotten phrases and making room among the tomes for this book.
This haunting mixed-media art book will appeal to literature lovers of all ages.
—New York Post
Each illustration cleverly incorporates text from classic works of literature into the art...This is fantastically imaginative and smart book that is sure to engage children of all ages.
—Cool Mom Picks (blog)
It's a lyrical picture book that celebrates the power of imagination...What a great way to stretch the imagination and teach reading all at once!
Literature lovers won't want to miss A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston.
As masterful as a book can be in extolling the richness that reading brings to our lives, "A Child of Books" is a glorious offering.
—Reading Eagle (from Kendal Rautzhan)
Kids and adults alike will marvel at the artistry and the message of A Child of Books, that we can build our own houses of invention and creativity where all are welcome, "for imagination is free."
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.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
A young girl reader helps a boy discover the imaginative art of stories in this insightful, intertextual ode to literary curiosity.“I am a child of books. / I come from a world of stories.” So says the nameless girl narrator as she sits and reads on a raft that floats atop a sea made up of words from various classic books. She sails a wave and approaches an awestruck boy to whisk him away. Following a trail of words pulled from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—an apt inclusion—the girl leads him into a world of adventures. Jeffers and Winston's mixed-media artwork, an inventive combination of watercolor, pencil, and digital collage, elicits strong notice from readers. Jeffers’ uneven, hand-lettered text contrasts dramatically with Winston’s digitally manipulated lines of classic prose. Collaged-in photos of actual books share space beside drawn buildings and act as tree trunks in a forest; sentences and lines taken from a diverse set of stories populate each spread, bowing to gravity or bursting from the world in unexpected ways. “For this is our world / we’ve made from stories…” sums it all up. Readers may find themselves smiling along. The girl wears her dark hair in pigtails and is depicted as either blue or paper-white, and the boy is also paper-white, with wavy, short hair. An ingenious, confident, and pretty cool exploration of literary delight. (Picture book. 5-12)