Review – The Way Back Home

Hello. My name is Tania and I’m an Oliver Jeffers addict.

I’ve actually never laid eyes on The Way Back Home before, which is saying something because I have all book by Mr Jeffers. Somehow this one just kept escaping me. Maybe because every time I went to a shop to look for it, everyone else had bought it. And there’s a reason everyone else keeps buying books by Mr Jeffers.

They are glorious.

In The Way Back Home, we meet a little boy who finds a long-forgotten aeroplane in his closet. So he takes it for a straight-away whirl. As you do. The plane goes higher and higher and higher – until it sputters out of petrol and has to land on the moon.

In a parallel universe (actually, OUR universe), a wee Martian’s spaceship breaks down – and lands on the moon. That’s where the two youngsters meet.

Keen to return home and to help the Martian return home, the little boy jumps down from the moon into the ocean, swims to shore then scurries home for supplies. On the way back to the moon, the Martian drops him a rope and hauls him back up to fix the plane and spaceship. Then it’s time to say goodbye. Will they ever see each other again?

This is a sweetly simply story but it’s the divine, iconic illustrations and delicious subtleties that make Jeffers’ books stand out. His use of emotion and ‘real life kid’ propensity are just beautiful – and have enormous crossover appeal. A story about friendship, adventure and home – this book is wholeheartedly added to my joyful Jeffers collection.

The Way Back Home is published by HarperCollins.


Published by

Tania McCartney

Tania McCartney is an author of children's books and adult non-fiction. Recent books include Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A journey around Melbourne, and Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline. She's also an editor, publisher and founder of Kids Book Review.