There’s something incredibly special about Oliver Jeffers. All of his books seem to work on two levels. Children love them because the stories are simple and the illustrations are beautiful – but there is something deep in each story which really resonates with adults too. When I pick up one of his books and read it for the first time, I know that it’s probably going to make me feel a bit weepy and this one affected me more than any of the others.
The story is about a little girl who loves life. She loves to explore, she loves to learn and she sees wonder everywhere she turns. Pictured beside her (but not mentioned in the text) is her grandfather. Then one day she discovers an empty chair in her house, and the grandfather is no longer there.
We are huge fans of Oliver Jeffers and I had thought we owned all of his books, until Ivy spotted this one in our local bookshop and started gleefully shouting ‘Bear! Bear! Bear!’. This is a special board book version of an earlier work called The Great Paper Caper.
The animals in the forest are all very confused. Lots and lots of branches were going missing from trees and their beloved home is beginning to look a little forlorn. What is happening to all the trees? At first the animals all blame each other but it soon becomes clear they all have alibis. Until one day they find a paper aeroplane with Bear’s paw prints all over it.
Is Bear responsible for damaging the trees and lying to his friends? And what’s with all the paper aeroplanes?
The Way Back Home is one of our favourite books by Oliver Jeffers. It’s a beautifully illustrated story but it’s also so much more. It covers off lots of important themes – like friendship, courage and helping other people – but still delivers an exciting story filled with space travel, aliens and even landing on the moon!
One day a little boy finds an aeroplane at the back of his cupboard so he decides to try it out. He flies so high that he ends up in space but then suddenly he runs out of petrol. He finds himself alone and scared on the moon. How on earth will he get home?
Unbeknown to him, a little martian is also having engine trouble and soon there are two of them on the moon. The boy and the martian are two very different creatures but they both have the same problem. Can they work together so that they can each get back home?
Highly recommended (and if you’re a fan of Lost and Found then there’s a little treat as the tiny penguin features in the illustrations too!)
Buy it now: http://amzn.to/2HDXWIq
Our love affair with Oliver Jeffers continues with ‘How to Catch a Star’.
This story is about a little boy who loves stars. He loves them so much that he wants to find one so that it can be his friend – so he decides to catch a star of his very own! He waits all day but doesn’t see any stars. Then night arrives and a star appears, but it’s too high for him to reach.
He uses lots of inventive ways to try and catch the star – but will he succeed?
Buy it now: http://amzn.to/2s1pKUb
This book is so beautiful that it made me cry on the first read through. Ivy received it on her birthday and it really is a perfect gift for a book-loving child.
The story tells of a little girl who sails across an ocean of words to invite a little boy on an imaginative journey with her in a world of stories.
The pictures don’t do it justice, but if you look closely you can see that the illustrations are all made of words from classic children’s literature – including Gulliver’s Travels, Robinson Crusoe, Pinocchio, The Swiss Family Robinson and many more.
It looks and feels like something she can treasure for years and years. Go buy it – I cannot recommend it enough!
Buy it now: http://amzn.to/2Bh6c1h
We’ve developed a bit of a thing for Oliver Jeffers in recent weeks and Ivy particularly likes this one as it makes her giggle.
A little boy called Floyd gets his kite stuck up a tree so he throws his shoe up to knock it down. The shoe gets stuck so he throws up a cat. The cat gets stuck so he throws up a ladder. I think you get the idea!
Eventually the tree is full of random things including an orang-utan, a sink and the fire brigade. How will he get them all down?
Every time we read this Ivy runs around yelling ‘Stuck! Stuck! Stuck!’ and laughing to herself!
Buy it now: http://amzn.to/2jyuVqF
There’s something about this book by Oliver Jeffers that is really calming. The combination of the beautiful illustrations and the minimalist text really works well.
A little boy finds a penguin and, worried that he looks a bit sad, he tries to help him find his way home. They journey together for thousands of miles but when they get there they learn a powerful lesson.
Home isn’t always where you’re from – home is where your heart lives.
This is a truly mesmerising little book about the power of friendship.
Buy it now: http://amzn.to/2yD5z0N
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
My name is Michelle. I am based in South East London and live with my nine year old daughter who goes by her very own business name of Little Wise Junior (she is my Artistic Director too!). I am also the creator and owner of Little Wise Toys where I have designed and developed a range of screen-free educational and home learning toys for young children aged 3-6 (with a new product for 6-12 year olds focused on emotional development in the pipeline).
As Michelle’s daughter is in a slightly older age bracket than the usual focus of this blog series, they’re both going to cast their minds back to some of the early books they used to enjoy together in the pre-school years. Little Wise Junior is going to kick things off…
In recent months I have seen a sharp increase in the number of messages and emails I receive from parents asking me to recommend books to help children cope with a bereavement.
There are many stories out there which offer great comfort and encourage children to talk about their loss and how it makes them feel, but trying to find the right one for your child when you are dealing with your own grief can feel like an enormous task.
Here is a list of the 24 books which I would recommend. I hope you find it helpful, and please do share it with friends and family who you think may need it.
May 18-24th 2020 is Mental Health Awareness Week so we thought we’d take the opportunity to share our favourite books which focus on understanding and managing emotions.
Allie All Along by Sarah Lynne Reul – A fantastic book for helping children learn to manage their anger. The visual representation of the layers of emotion works really well and the story offers up lots of useful tools to help children learn how to calm themselves down. Read the review
The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas – A clever book which equates emotions to colours and explains how you shouldn’t bottle them up. Read the review