Although his most famous book is The Day the Crayons Quit, I first discovered Oliver Jeffers after reading The Heart and the Bottle. It’s the story of a girl who decides to keep her heart in a bottle to keep it safe. What she learns from the experience, and how it changes her perspective on life will touch even the most hardened reader. The illustrations in The Heart and the Bottle range from an anatomical drawing of a heart, to a sweeping illustration swirling with all of the thoughts, places, and ideas that fill the girl’s mind while she reads. At that moment Jeffer’s books had my heart, and I’ve laughed, and dreamed, and read-aloud ever since.
Stuck is another of my favorite Jeffer’s titles. In the book Floyd is simply trying to enjoy his day by flying a kite. It gets caught in a tree and he must problem solve how to get it down. He throws a shoe and then the shoe is stuck in the tree too. He tries more things and the additive story is a joy for kids. Why? Because they think they know what will happen, and this gives them the feeling that they understand and can control a little corner of the world. As the additive nature of the story continues, it goes from logical to silly and inspires kids to think of what they might use to get a kite unstuck.
Jeffers books are large in size, and his text is hand-written which makes kids feel comfortable diving into the books. Even though many kids are no longer taught cursive, I find that they can often recognize the words, and use the pictures to help confirm their suspicions on ones that they might not recognize. The bright colors, simple faces, and fantastical subjects that Jeffers infuses in his books engage even the most particular of readers. I’ve never met a child who isn’t engaged by The Incredible Book Eating Boy or Once Upon an Alphabet. Both titles also serve teachers well as they can be the basis for creative wrting prompts.
I would greatly recommend including these and any other Jeffer’s titles to your holiday shopping list. For librarians, teachers or other Children’s book lovers, the original prints and book themed necklaces on Jeffer’s website are a delight. Hey Santa: This is my favorite-
Ranging from $30-$200 you can give a Limited Edition print, or a necklace inspired from one of his books. The prints range in size and some come framed. They could become a focal point in an office, home or library of a book lover and would be an unexpected and treasured gift. Happy Reading!