Oliver Jeffers is one of those illustrators whose work is instantly recognisable. He has a really unique style that’s quite sparse but very effective. I fell in love with Oliver’s illustrations when I first picked up The Book Eating Boy, which is one of my favourites along with The Great Paper Chase. Oliver’s latest book is The Hueys in The New Jumper, the first in a new series which is sure to be a hit.
The thing about the Hueys was that they were all the same. They looked the same, thought the same, and did the same things, until the day that Rupert knitted a new jumper. At first, everyone thinks Rupert is silly and he stands out like a sore thumb. Then some of the other Hueys start knitting their own jumpers, and they all start to look the same again. How will Rupert stand out?
The Hueys in The New Jumper is a quirky picture book about how cool it is to be different. Rupert shows children that it’s OK to be different (and you might even start a new trend at the same time). The book itself is quite different from a lot of other picture books, because there is very little detail or colour in the illustrations. I love that Oliver can make such simple characters show so much emotion (he shows happiness, shock, anger and embarrassment with a few quick strokes of his pencil). The Hueys are characters that children and adults will love and I look forward to seeing what they get up to next.
Oliver has been in NZ recently for the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival and an event in Wellington. I’m really looking forward to hearing Oliver talk at the Children’s Book Council of Australia Conference in Adelaide this week, and I’ll be queuing up with everyone else to get my books signed.