The Incredible Book Eating Boy - Thao Lam
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The Incredible Book Eating Boy

The Incredible Book Eating Boy

The Incredible Book Eating Boy

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Chicken wings, sausages, salami and RIBS are a few of my favorite things, which is a major offense for a vegetarian. Three years ago, I had it in my head that it would be a brilliant idea for a vegetarian to attend rib feast, which is exactly like it sounds like – all-you-can-eat ribs from the best of the best barbeque chefs on the continent. All I did was look, I swear. The smells were incredible; it made me weak in the knees. I had an onion bloom while watching my dad dig into tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs, glazed in caramelized barbeque sauce with a slight hint of hickory. Keep reading…

So I have been a vegetarian for about 8 years now (not counting the 2003 Blackout when I helped my friends save all the meat in their fridge). So why, you may ask, would I deprive myself of chicken wings, sausages, salami and RIBS. I blame it on David Suzuki (scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster) who challenged everyone to not eat meat for one day a week, not only to save animals but also to reduce the carbon footprint raising animals for food has on the environment. Sure, I took it to extremes, but I never back down from a challenge. Plus, it solved my issues at restaurants; I tend to get very overwhelmed reading restaurants menus (too many choices with the added pressure of the service staff hovering nearby). Now, my selections have been narrowed down by 90% – what to eat is no longer an issue.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy, written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, is about a boy who loves books, but not the way you and I love books. Henry loves eating books. He isn’t fussy; he’ll eat all sorts of books: dictionaries, storybooks, atlases, and even math books. The more he devours, the smarter he gets. Henry eats volumes at such a fast rate that he can’t digest them all and everything he learns starts getting all jumble up. Forced to give up munching on books, Henry eventually learns that reading them is just as fulfilling.

The layout of the book is clever, from the chosen typefaces (courier and handwritten fonts) to the die-cut bite mark on the last page of the book and the “Disclaimer: Please do NOT try to eat this book at home” that appears on the back of the book. The story is witty and playful, perfect for reading aloud. Full of subtle details, you will find yourself giggling while exploring each illustration. Jeffers painted and penciled on covers and pages from a collection of found books. Collaged together, those pages give a wonderful texture, pattern and colour pallet (different shades of tea stains colours) to his story. All these details combined will make you laugh out loud.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

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Author and Illustrator Oliver Jeffers

I had the privilege of meeting Oliver Jeffers on one of his book tours. As enchanted as all the other children sitting around me, together we listened as he read aloud. Jeffers is from Northern Ireland, which explains his charming accent. He graduated from the University of Ulster with a degree in Visual Communication. As well as being an illustrator and a writer, Jeffers is also an artist and designer; he has held many gallery exhibits around the world. He has won many awards for his picture books; The Incredible Book Eating Boy won the 2007 Irish Book Awards for Children’s Book of the Year.

I am always tickled pink when an author or an illustrator, takes time out of their busy schedule to reply to a fan mail.

“I’m thrilled to be included in a children’s book blog that clearly has impeccable tastes and insightful reviews. The title is pretty delicious too.”

– Oliver Jeffers –

To read more on Oliver Jeffers, please visit his website:

Publisher Harpercollins; 1 edition (April 4 2007)

ISBN-10 0007182317

ISBN-13 978-0007182312