The Way Back Home

Oliver Jeffers, Author, Oliver Jeffers, Illustrator . Philomel $16.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-399-25074-3

Jeffers's (The Incredible Book Eating Boy ) arrestingly illustrated book begins with the creation of a spare watercolor world—a single, nameless boy on a deserted beach. Quickly the story takes a surprising turn: the boy finds an airplane in his closet and crashes it on the moon. When he's joined by a similarly stranded Martian, the two strangers hatch a scrappy plan for rescue, suggesting a moral: it's good to work together. After the unusual narrative leaps at the beginning of the story, the message feels a little forced, and it's less fun than expected. Even so, a quality reminiscent of The Little Prince comes through, not just in the lone boy/outer-space setting, but in the balance between the humor in the predicament and loneliness. These two emotions are matched perfectly by the mixed-media art. Colorful figures swim in vast amounts of negative space, isolated and a bit melancholy, but their postures and faces are playful, almost comic. An odd scale and lopsided figures suggest a world off-kilter, while silly monsters and impossible feats keep things light. With uneven graphite outlines on watercolor-soaked paper that reveals the grain of the paper, the overall effect is tactile, textured and even a little childlike. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/07/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Genre: Children's
Board Books - 32 pages - 978-0-00-732327-2
Hardcover - 29 pages - 978-0-00-718228-2
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-00-732325-8
Paperback - 1 pages - 978-0-00-718232-9
Paperback - 30 pages - 978-0-00-726230-4
Show other formats
Discover what to read next