This year is the ten year anniversary of Oliver Jeffers’ third book, ‘The Incredible Book Eating Boy’. It’s one of my personal favourites as I feel it best reflects Jeffers’ distinctive style and story telling genius.
Henry, the hero of the story, loves books, but not like you or I love books. He loves to eat them! His appetite for books is triggered quite by mistake, but grows and grows until he can eat whole books at a time, on any subject he chooses. Remarkably, Henry finds that eating books also makes him smarter; he becomes a genius overnight!
Unfortunately, the book cravings start to take over and Henry’s gluttony for the written word begins to make him ill. He is unable to digest any of the books he eats and sadly, finds that all of the knowledge he has acquired whilst munching books becomes jumbled and lost. Poor Henry! Suffering from the worst case of indigestion imaginable, he takes solace from reading books instead- and finds that reading, instead of eating, books, is even better!
This is such a beautiful and quirky book! It's a must for the bookshelves of any fan of Oliver Jeffers' work!
'The Incredible Book Eating Boy' inspires so many great ideas for use in the classroom - beyond simply exploring what a healthy diet for Henry might look like!
Readers might enjoy writing about what their favourite book might taste like and writing reviews to encourage others to try a nibble. It would also be interesting to explore the story from the point of view of a parent, doctor or one of Henry’s friends. How Henry might be persuaded to stop eating books and encouraged to read them instead?
At one point in the story, Henry’s appetite for books makes him smarter then his teacher; readers could explore what it would feel like to be smarter than their teachers and write about what they might teach them instead!
It’s hard to believe that this gorgeous picture book now celebrates its 10th birthday. It might be said that this classic has been overlooked with the publication of some of Jeffers’ more recent books, but I feel it deserves to sit along side them. Let’s dust it off if necessary, and use it in the classroom again because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love devouring a good book?!
Happy Birthday to Henry, the incredible book eating boy!