Posts Tagged ‘Oliver Jeffers’

Some stories attract you by their title alone. You just know it’s going be a good story. You just know you’re going to like it. And it certainly helps when the author is known for writing charming tales with memorable characters. The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers is definitely one such story. I knew that my little bibliophile, Ellery, would like it. What a treat then to have the opportunity to bring him to watch it live!

The story is about a boy called Henry who loves books. Except, Henry doesn’t like to read books, he likes to eat them! Big books, picture books, reference books . . . if it has pages, Henry chews them up and swallows. Red ones are his favourite. And the more he eats, the smarter he gets. He’s on his way to being the smartest boy in the world! However, he eats too many books too quickly. One day he feels sick to his stomach and discovers that the knowledge he has acquired through book eating is all jumbled up inside. He simply can’t digest it! Eventually he learns to enjoy books by reading them, rather than eating them. He also finds that by reading he can still acquire knowledge, and still be on his way to becoming the smartest boy in the world. It will just take a little longer. It’s a unique story that brings home the message that reading is a worthwhile activity, and that there are no shortcuts to success.

Henry about to gobble up a book

Henry about to gobble up a book

Book goes in, brain gets bigger!

Book goes in, brain gets bigger, boy gets smarter!

The stage adaptation of The Incredible Book Eating Boy really brought out the story and allowed you to understand the main character, Henry, and his unique circumstances even more. I liked how they dramatised Henry getting distracted by a cat (doing a massive poo…) and accidentally having his first taste (literally) of books. Through a clever use of angles, lighting, and slight of hand, the actors managed to make it look like Henry was eating up the pages of the book, eating up whole books, and even several books at a go! Of course the adults would know how it’s done, but I think it wow-ed the kids. Ellery whispered to me, “How come he can really eat books, Mummy?”

I thought the actors did very well at switching roles, in particular Teresa Jakovich and Jo Turner who had to take on multiple characters in the show. They really transformed with each character, giving each one a different manner of speech and unique little idiosyncrasies. My favourite had to be Timmy, Henry’s classmate. He was soooo funny. Loved him.

Henry with his Dad and sister

Henry with his Dad and sister

Besides Timmy, my favourite bit in the show was the segment showing ‘Henry’s Kitchen’, a parody that was a cross between sell-a-vision and a cooking show with books as the ingredients. It was so punny! There were lots of humourous references to famous books that parents could appreciate, and several references to familiar childrens books that the kids could recognise. For Ellery, his favourite part of the show was when Henry learned to enjoy reading, rather than eating, books.

After his terrible bout of indigestion, Henry doesn't want to eat book anymore!

Henry cannot stomach the pile of books anymore

I liked how the set and props were inspired by books. The backdrop was of pages of a book, the stage was marked with a boundary of books, the stools were piles of books, and the cleverest part was having props that looked like books which opened into a table complete with pop-up salad bowls and cups! I also liked how the style of the set and props stayed true to Oliver Jeffers’ beautiful and quirky illustrations in the book, right down to Henry’s medal for being the smartest boy on earth.

The smartest boy on earth!

The smartest person on Earth!

It isn’t always true that a good book translates to a good stage adaptation, but CDP theatre producers did a great job. Even though they elaborated on parts of the story, they did not detract from it. I would say their version made the book even more appealing!

On the way home, Ellery told me about how he couldn’t find a particular book and said he was certain Henry must have eaten it up! :)


Eating the book eating boy

Presented by ABA Productions, The Incredible Book Eating Boy runs until Sunday 24 May and I think there are still tickets for the 430pm show. If you’ve got no plans, it would definitely be worth your while catching this production! Tickets are available via the SISTIC website and ticketing hotline (63485555).


We received complementary tickets for this show. All opinions are my own.
This post contains affiliate links.

Read Full Post »

I took the boys to watch How to Catch a Star presented by ABA Productions and the Blunderbus Theatre Company.  It’s based on the book by Oliver Jeffers and is about a boy who loved stars so much he wanted one of his very own.  It traces the story of how he tries different ways and means to get hold of one.

We borrowed the book from the library prior to watching the show so that the kids would be familiar with the story.  It’s a simple yet sweet story.  Asher and Ellery’s  favourite part is when the little boy in the story thinks what he sees in the water is a fallen star, when really it is the reflection of a star in the sky.  And they laugh gleefully when he thinks the starfish that washes up onto the shore is really that fallen star.  They connected with that simple story and were really excited about going for the show.  When I went to pick them from school they ran out of class yelling, “How to Catch a Star!!!!”

While the flow of the show followed the storybook, it was embellished with a lot of fillers – common for a stage adaptation of a children’s book, especially a short one.  But they managed to stretch the fillers in such a kid-pleasing way though.  I’ve never seen Asher laugh so hard in a show before.  He was laughing, guffawing, squealing with delight, giggling, and every other form of laughter you can think of.  And perhaps a bit too loudly because the people in front kept looking back (eep!), although they were smiling too and looked amused at how tickled Asher was.  To be honest, much of it was quite slapstick, but that’s what the kids love!  Seriously, the kids just lapped it all up!  For me, it was a wee bit too much slapstick for my adult sensibilities, but there is no doubt at all that the children totally loved every bit of the show.  Asher and Ellery declared that their favourite parts in the show were when the little boy got sprayed with water, and when a lollipop got stuck all over the place (watch it and you’ll know what I mean).

The little boy and his favourite star (Picture taken from Blunderbus website.)

In the show there were also two additional characters, Aurora and Ariel, who were the ‘star keepers’.  They served as narrators, and also helped the little boy in his quest to obtain a star.  I liked that the characters interacted a lot with the audience.  Before the show, they went around chatting with the children, and during the show they sometimes called out the names of the children they’d met.  They also kept turning to the audience for help with a variety of things, whether it was getting rid of horrid hiccups, blowing boats, or waking the little boy from his sleep.  Everyone (adults included) were more than happy to join in.

Catching sight of the star through his giant telescope (Picture taken from Blunderbus website.)

I do wish the last bit, where the boy sees the reflection and thinks it’s a fallen star would have come through a little more subtly, rather than just telling the children that he saw the reflection of the star in the water.  That part all the way to the end was the most poignant part of the storybook, I thought.  So it was a bit of a shame that it got glossed over at the end of the show.  But that’s probably an adult preoccupation. The kids were more than happy with the way it was presented.

Overall, the kids had a blast!  It was definitely a show that thoroughly delighted them.

If you’ve not read the book, you can watch a video of it on YouTube.

There are only 7 shows left and the show ends its run this Sunday, 27th April, so book your tickets soon.  Tickets are available through SISTIC.  You can also check out the poster for the show here.


On a side note, we had a real surprise today!  We bumped into Asher’s old classmate, M, and his sister L.  And by sheer coincidence, we ended up sitting right next to each other!  What are the chances?  The two boys had a great time playing with one another.  It’s so lovely to see that they remember each other and get along so well even though they have not met for more than 1.5 years!

Old buddies catching up before the show

Old buddies catching up before the show

Asher, Ellery, M and L with two of three cast members from the show

Asher, Ellery, M and L with the cast of the show


Disclaimer: I was given tickets to review the show.  All opinions are my own.

Read Full Post »

This April you can learn how to catch a star.  Based on the best-selling children’s book, How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers, learn about the boy who loved stars so much he wished he had one of his own.  He decides one day that he would try to catch a star.  But first he has to think of a plan.  Through an irresistable blend of music, puppetry and storytelling, you can follow Boy on his incredible journey across land, sea and skies in search of a very special starry friend.

The performance is presented by Blunderbus, the acclaimed children’s theatre company who specialises in shows for children aged 3-7 years old and their parents.  There are only 8 shows being held at the School of the Arts (SOTA) between 24th to 27th April, so go grab your tickets soon!  Tickets are available through Sistic.

Displaying HCS_poster.jpg

Read Full Post »