Published by Walker Books, 2016.
A Child of Books is a glorious celebration of reading. It delights in the power of books to transport and transform us; books take us out of ourselves and away from the everyday. The story follows a young girl who is an avid reader. She sets sail on a ‘sea of words’ and arrives at the house of a small, unhappy boy. Together, they embark on an adventure, travelling over ‘mountains of make-believe’ and through ‘forests of fairy tales’, before sleeping in ‘clouds of song’. This journey opens the boy’s eyes to the exciting, liberating possibilities offered by imagination and invention.
Sam Winston has produced innovative, unique backgrounds for Oliver Jeffers’s story and illustrations. Winston has used excerpts of classic children’s books to create amazing typographical landscapes: a treasure cave is made by arching and overlapping extracts from Treasure Island; a monster from the text of Frankenstein and Dracula; the rope used by the children to escape from a tower is a line from Rapunzel; and the waves they sail across are formed using excerpts from the great sea stories. There’s so much to look at and it’s fun identifying the classic children’s book from its excerpt or illustration.
The beautiful, inspiring message at the core of A Child of Books is that we are shaped by the stories we read. We are made from stories. Our reading informs our childhood identities and we thereby become a ‘child of books’. What a wonderful, magical thought to share with our children as we read together. It’s a message that resonates very strongly with me because, as a child and now as an adult, I see a lot of the world through the books that I’ve read. They have given me a pool of reading memories and experiences on which to draw.
Suitable for children aged 4+
Thank you to Walker Books for sending me this book to review and to Lovereading4kids for selecting me as a reviewer.