Ode to Oliver

Once there was a boy and the boy loved stars very much.

Je suis sous le charm.  I’m under a charm—that’s what you’ll think when you pour over an Oliver Jeffers picture book.  If you haven’t encountered Jeffers’ whimsical work on the page, you’ve missed out on adorable, capital A. How to Catch a Star, Lost and Found, The Moose Belongs to Me, Stuck, and all of the others are one part delight and three parts magic. I’m enchanted by Jeffers’ work, can you tell?  

Enchanting is just one lovely reason to pick up a copy of anything illustrated by Jeffers. Don’t discount the value of picture books for your children; they’re important for development.  Here are a few sound reasons why some less text-heavy books should be wrapped and put under your tree this year.  They introduce children to the concept of reading even when they can’t.  This is how your littles will start to read. It will also help young learners connect what they see with how they think.  Karen Lotz, President of Candlewick Press, confirms, “To some degree, picture books force an analog way of thinking.  From picture to picture, as the reader interacts with the book, their imagination is filling in the missing themes.”  It’s safe to say that Socrates, Plato, and a whole lotta other smart guys began a career in thinking with the initial step of looking at pictures with a bit of accompanying text.

I won’t even mention the fact that picture books help kids discover their world, and themselves for that matter, or that they build self-confidence and vocabulary too.  It’s no stretch of the imagination to suggest that these early “must sees” are as comforting as hot cocoa on a glacial winter day.  Marshmallows included.  Besides, they encourage a love of reading from the very beginning.  Jeffers will make bookworms out of your babies.  

Truth is, I buy Jeffers’ books for me. I’m under his spell.  If my kids are lucky, I’ll share a copy with them.  And a cup of hot cocoa too.  

Posted by Tracy