How to Catch A Star by Oliver Jeffers
Some books delight you and it is hard to say why they appeal so much, and I have held off writing a review of How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers for just this reason. This week I am taking the plunge and am going to attempt to tell you why this book has been one of my favourite picture books from the very first read.
I initially chose the book for my son because of the blurb on the back – ‘Once there was a boy and the boy loved stars very much…… ‘. With the catchy cover and those twelve words my imagination was hooked, and I bought this book was bought to impulse to amuse a cranky child. I believed I was buying a book about space travel into the stars, just the ticket for my boy! I soon found out I was very wrong. I had something way better!
The boy in this book loves stars so much he decides he is going to catch one. He cannot go in his rocket because he is out of fuel, so he has to think of the best way to actually get a star. I have just sat here for a few minutes trying to find the words to describe how this simple story is told, and I am just going to take the plunge and deal with how weird or twee this might sound. How the boy tries to catch his star is a journey through the delightful imagination of a boy very simply told. It is told so well that you can see boys and girls everywhere thinking and acting the same way as the boy in the book, and it simply makes me smile to read it. For children, well they instantly connect with the boy’s way of thinking and it is like his story is their story.
While the cover does nothing to hint at the beautiful story within, it also does not do justice to the beautiful illustrations inside. The pictures are beautiful watercolours that hint at what is happening in the story and leave plenty of room for your imagination to fill in the blanks.
I am sure your are reading this and are probably thinking I have over-sold the book, or gushed too much, and maybe I have. But writing this review has actually clarified for me what makes this book so special. The story is the story of many children who have looked up at the stars and wanted one of their own, told and illustrated in a way that allows adults to remember what it was like as a child and children to see themselves as the boy.