The Books

The Way Back Home

by Oliver Jeffers

One Potato Review

“Once there was a boy,” begins this tale of exploration and extra-terrestrials. And the boy was so inscrutable he didn’t even have a mouth most of the time, and he was also very small and a little bit lonely in the extra-large universe, which is anyway luckily navigable by means of an airplane he finds in his closet. This author makes it work, indeed he’s consistently handy at these narrative matter-of-facts, here and also in Lost and Found, where once there was also this boy who found a Penguin at his front door, and attempted to return him to the North Pole (he failed; the penguin has a cameo here). These books and How to Catch a Star have a lustrous remoteness about them – through mountains and placid oceans and crescent-moonlit skies – which speaks to the urgency of reaching out, and looking further, still Jeffers always stops to catch his breath, and it’s these whimsical moments (here the boy forgets for about rescuing the Martian he just met to stop and watch his favorite TV show) which amount to much of its sly, but undeniable, charm.