The Incredible Book Eating Boy



Kids will gobble up this smart and silly tale.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that nothing objectionable is presented in this story of a boy who devours books ... literally! The premise is silly and the tone playful.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Henry loves eating books -- really eating them. What begins with the eating of one single word becomes an obsession. The more books he devours, the smarter he gets ... until one day, things change and he has to learn a new way gobble up knowledge.

Is it any good?


With brown-toned collages of words, cartoons, and carefully selected book pages, award-winning author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers has created a very intriguing format for this silly, playful story. The story of THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY is as simple as the cartoons that illustrate it: Boy eats books and gets smarter, boy gets sick and loses everything he knows, boy learns to read books and gets smarter again.

Jeffers tells the tale with a variety of typewriter prints, highlighted with simple paint and pencil artwork and arranged on pages from old books that he found discarded from libraries, bookshops, and personal collections. He has created a unique format for a unique story. A large bite taken out of the back cover is the icing on the cake!

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the literal and metaphorical meanings of the phrase "devouring books." Henry did both. Which worked best for him? Why did he start eating books? Would actually eating books really make him smarter? Why do you think he suddenly got sick one day? Do you think he will learn more if he reads the books rather than eating them? Who do you think took the bite out of the cover?

Book details

Author:Oliver Jeffers
Illustrator:Oliver Jeffers
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:May 1, 2007
Number of pages:32
Read aloud:4
Read alone:6

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written byaoshi November 13, 2015

Book eating boy

This is such a charming book! I've read it to grades Kinder - 5th grade. Story line is fun and engaging. Art work is detailed and may need to be shown on an overhead projector if shared with an audience.


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