Posted by: Erica Gillingham | May 24, 2012

Guest Blogger: The Incredible Book Eating Boy!

The Incredible Book Eating Boy

Oliver Jeffers, London: HarperCollins Children’s Books, pb. 978 0 00 718231 2, £5.99, 2009 (this edition), 32pp.

“Henry loved books. But not like you and I love books, no. Not quite . . .

. . . Henry loved to EAT books.”

Oliver Jeffers’ The Incredible Book Eating Boy is a humorous tale about a boy named Henry who discovers he has a taste for books. After testing out a word and then a sentence and then an entire page, Henry starts consuming books whole. He’s not picky about what books he eats; he loves them all. Story books, dictionaries, maths books . . . they all taste delicious in Henry’s tummy. An interesting side effect of Henry’s favorite dish is that his brain seems to be digesting the books as well. Unfortunately, something starts to go horribly wrong and all of the information from the books seems to be getting muddled together. What will Henry do?

Jeffers’ story is perfect for anyone who loves books. Aimed at older picture book readers (3-6 year olds), The Incredible Book Eating Boy provides a silly, enjoyable story while also teaching a lesson about the power of books. The placement of the text on each page is never the same, forcing older readers to pay attention and consider how books work. It’s an interesting look into how the form and style of books can be manipulated to create something new and fun.

The real stars of the book for me, however, are the illustrations. Actually, I don’t think illustration is the correct word for what Jeffers produces in this book. Each page is like a piece of art. Varying textures and a unique color palette work harmoniously with the text. Words, sentences, and pages from existing books blend into the background, supplying older readers with plenty to see and discuss. All of the images that Jeffers’ provides make The Incredible Book Eating Boy one of those books where you stumble on something new each time you pick it up. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.


Holly Grise is a freelance writer and editor in educational publishing and hails from Ohio, USA. You can learn more about her on our About Us page or check out her blog, Embracing the Geek. We’re very excited to have her keen insights in children’s literature now on Picture Book Palette as a guest blogger!

Photos by Holly Grise



  1. […] second guest blogger review is now available to read on Picture Book Palette. In this picture book review, I share my thoughts on Oliver Jeffers’ The Incredible Book […]

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