How To Catch A Star by Oliver Jeffers

9/10 Sparkles of humour, a breath of fresh air.

Oliver Jeffers made a name for himself in children’s books with this title and it’s not hard to see why when you turn the pages. Jeffers uses the simple relationship of a boy and his fascination with stars and turns it into a page turning story. How to Catch A Star tells the tale of the boy as he goes on a quest to catch a star of his very own exploring the boys plots to seize his star – ranging from using a lifebelt as a lasso to jumping up and grabbing it. The detail Jeffers goes into in the boys quest to get his prize is reminiscent of any child who longs to fulfil their dream – they’ll try anything to succeed.

Finally he sees a star ‘floating’ in the water and he thinks this is finally his chance get his prize – and so he does as a star fish washes up on the shore. The ending to this book really is uplifting and heartwarming as the little boy realises his dream and catches his very own ‘star’. It’s the sort of adventure children would love to imagine themselves in and at the same time can relate to his determination - that’s possibly why they love reading it.

With so few words actually telling this story Oliver Jeffers demonstrates the strength in his writing and his illustrations too. His quirky images are so strong that they almost tell the story for him. Readers are fascinated by the illustrations and love to dwell on each page. The images within themselves stand alone as little masterpieces – and set this book apart from many others in this sector.

Jeffers uses words sparingly but when he does they’re the right ones - with classic lines like “He thought he could fly up in his spaceship and just grab the star. But his spaceship had run out of petrol last Tuesday when he flew to the moon” – such sparkles of humour make it a great read for adults too.

This book is a breath of fresh air and it’s not surprising that it was shortlisted for the Booktrust Awards 2005. Luckily for children (and parents) Jeffers has gone on to write other titles which live up to his debut.

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