Over the summer, I was lucky enough to go to the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston, where I saw the amazing Maurice Sendak exhibit and the beautiful Oliver Jeffers installation, Universes. Jeffers created an enormous painting of space on the outside of the museum, where it elegantly reached for the sky. It was amazing to see his artwork larger than life, I felt like I was being transported into one of his books!
I’m a big fan of Oliver Jeffers illustrations and stories…and the fact that he helped me and my two children get through the pandemic with his cool live storytimes is also a big plus! I’ll happily admit I’m a big Oliver Jeffers fan. Aren’t we all? If you aren’t yet, here are my–and my kids–favorite Oliver Jeffers books that are read on repeat in our house.
Top Ten Oliver Jeffers Books
This is the first appearance of the Penguin, who mysteriously shows up on The Boy’s doorstep. Together they go on an adventure to the South Pole and on the way become the best of friends. This is a sweet and simple book of friendship and helping others, with a little adventure along the way. This book is so good that it was also made into a short animated movie!
Penguin wants to fly, but unfortunately, penguins don’t fly. Or do they? Go on a quest with Penguin (and his friend The Boy) as they figure out a way for Penguin to soar. Such a cute story of making dreams come true, however scary they might be, and the importance of having a good friend on your side.
Each time the boy eats a book he absorbs its knowledge, until too many books make things go haywire! This silly and clever book is just good fun, and might encourage all kinds of eaters to laugh out loud at the boy’s self-imposed predicament.
This book brings a tear to my eye every time, even though I’ve read it roughly 8 billion times. So simple and lovely, a girl decides to put her heart in a bottle after someone important dies. But then she realizes that she’s not only missing the person who is gone, she’s also missing the curious and life-filled person that she was when she had her heart inside of her where it belongs. Don’t miss this one!
One of the most inventive alphabet books ever! Each letter gets its own clever little story that you can read again and again. It really gets you acquainted with letter and letter sounds while also being good fun!
A Child Of Books (includes art from Sam Winston)
A creative book that celebrates children who are beginning to read on their own, this one explores the imagination and what you can create with it. This is an imaginative adventure book that really upholds the joy of reading, creating, and thinking big. The art is simply fantastic, too, including illustrations created by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston.
So lyrical and lovely in word and tone, this book touches on some of the funny, poignant, and interesting parts of being a human on Earth. This is like the book that launched a thousand ships as there are art pieces, an animated movie, and a book series all inspired by this one.
This is the book series inspired by Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth. Learn about opposites, animals, and colors in these charming books that are just right for babies and up. Simple with classic Oliver Jeffers illustrations, they are a wonderful addition to any beginning library. (Quick tip: these books make fantastic “Welcome Baby” or first birthday gifts!)
In my house, we love Spooky Season, so this book is a year-round read for us! It’s so inventive with its transparent pages, you feel like a part of the girl’s search for the ghost that is haunting her house. A fantastic pick for Halloween or any time of year!
The Day The Crayons Quit (written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers)
The crayons have had it; some are sick of coloring in everything, while others are tired of being the last color picked. So they write letters letting the reader know why they have left town. I love this book because it really models flexible thinking (can we color an elephant pink instead of gray?) as well as how to express your emotions, and is always good for a laugh! If you like this one, there is a whole series of these silly books you can check out!
Oliver Jeffers has so many fantastic books out there, and all of them are worth a read or a thousand reads if you live in my house! It was hard to narrow it down to a short list of favorites, really. He is arguably one of the best authors and illustrators of today, and I can’t wait for his next book!
Which Oliver Jeffers book is your favorite?