Review policy

Due to time pressures, I am unable to commit to reviewing books at the moment. However, please feel free to recommend or discuss by tweeting @MsTick68 or commenting on here. Thank you!

Thursday 1 March 2012

An Illustrated Year 3: The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

Today in honour of World Book Day I am writing about Oliver Jeffer's The Incredible Book Eating Boy. It seems appropriate to read a book that is about books and the importance of reading.


Henry is a book lover. He loves them so much that instead of reading his books, he eats them. He likes red ones best. And he finds that the more books he eats, the smarter he gets. However, after a while he starts to gobble his books down, making him feel sick in his stomach and muddled in his head, until a doctor points out that he should be reading his books, not eating them! This has the advantage of leaving the books for other people to read too.

I adore Oliver Jeffers. I love the look of his books (this has a lovely, slightly wonky old typewriter script, with slightly rough paper) as well as the stories, which seem very simple on the surface, have something quite profound to say. To me, The Incredible Book Eating Boy reminds me that sometimes, books are best savoured, relished and digested properly instead of being rushed over and gobbled down before racing on to the next one.

Jeffers' quirky illustrations are always a delight too. I love the use of labels, speech bubbles and other graphic effects, which leads the reader to look carefully at the illustrations, slowing the reading down. It would be a joy to share with children. The book deservedly won an Irish Book Award in 2007. There is a video of the dramatised version here.

If you would like to bring the joy of reading to children in sub-Saharan Africa, you can donate to Book Aid International. Happy World Book Day!


  1. Lovely post Ali, great choice of book for today. All I'd add, is that sometimes gobbling a book is a lot of fun and that shouldn't be ignored. Yes savouring books, like food, is hugely enjoyable, but sometimes it can't be helped - a book has to be swallowed whole. There's a delight in that too.

  2. Oh yes! It really can't be helped sometimes, can it? Then suddenly you realise it's the early hours of the morning, or you've missed your stop on the bus...