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The Great Paper Caper

The Great Paper Caper

by Oliver Jeffers

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From the illustrator of the #1 smash hit The Day the Crayons Quit comes a whodunnit just right for the youngest of readers (not to mention instructions for how to build the perfect paper airplane!)

The animals' homes are disappearing. Tree by tree, the forest is being cut down. Clues! There must be clues. For instance, look—there is a mysterious bear


From the illustrator of the #1 smash hit The Day the Crayons Quit comes a whodunnit just right for the youngest of readers (not to mention instructions for how to build the perfect paper airplane!)

The animals' homes are disappearing. Tree by tree, the forest is being cut down. Clues! There must be clues. For instance, look—there is a mysterious bear carrying an ax! But what would a bear want with so many trees? Perhaps the discarded paper airplanes littering the forest floor have a story to tell?

Oliver Jeffers' quirky, childlike humor and lovable illustrations are in full effect in this funny whodunit featuring a winning cast of animals and a message about the importance of conservation and recycling.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Jeffers's (The Incredible Book-Eating Boy) forest creatures have dots for eyes and sticks for legs; they live in tidy holes in the ground, equipped with home offices and washing machines. Responsible citizens, they notice that trees in their forest are missing big branches, and organize themselves to find the perpetrator-readers know from the outset it's the bear, in need of paper for a paper airplane contest. The drama unfolds in neatly paced vignettes and comic book-style panels with the rounded corners of old television sets. Jeffers joins the speech balloons to his characters' mouths with ruled pencil lines; his spidery writing is a sweetly incongruous vehicle for fast-moving patter ("I'll be the detective and you can be the judge," the beaver tells the deer. "Why do I have to be the judge?'" the deer protests, and waves a hoof toward the pig. "Why not him?" "I'm the prosecutor, that's why," says the pig). The conclusion nods toward forgiveness and restorative justice, but it's the anti-crime tape that gets the laughs. Jeffers lobs a joke or two over the heads of young listeners, a gesture that will be welcomed by presiding adults. Ages 3-5. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
[F]unny and charming . . . with little giggles to be found again and again.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The story begins in the forest, where we meet five characters living in caves under trees. But everything there is "not as it should have been." A bear with a knit cap and an axe is going through the forest, and those who live there notice that branches are disappearing from trees. As they ponder this mystery, we can see in the visual tale that the bear is busy chopping away. As the beaver, deer, pig, goose, and youngster start to investigate, the bear totes a whole tree past a posted notice about a paper airplane competition. The "detectives" find a paper plane with the bear's pawprints and track him down. They find him feeding branches to a papermaking machine. The police arrest him; he confesses. He only wanted the paper to make a prize-winning plane. The solution is a triumph for recycling and replanting. Jeffers's note that the art is "made from a mixture of painting, collage, and a wee bit of digital tweaking" perhaps tells us enough about the stylistic visual approach to the story. The pages depicting the landscape are austere in their stark lack of detail. The characters seem toy-like, with bodies stuck on thin wire or stick legs. Readers must supply any emotion beyond humor. The few interior scenes are more detailed, but maintain the starkness of the exteriors. The endpages include blueprints for constructing several different paper airplanes. This is an unusual "green" book. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

There's something amiss in the forest, as branches are mysteriously disappearing. At first, the animal friends accuse one another but when alibis pan out, they realize that they have a thief on their hands. Setting out to solve the mystery, they discover that the bear has been stealing branches and making them into not-very-good paper airplanes for a competition. After a short trial, he confesses and agrees to replant the trees he has destroyed, and the other critters help him reuse the wasted paper to create a prizewinning entry. Managed forestry is the theme of this book that features folk-art-style animals with funny little stick legs. The mixed-media illustrations nicely complement the spare yet eloquent text. Though this clever title may need hand-selling to readers, teachers will welcome it for lessons on the environment.-Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada

Kirkus Reviews
"There was a time in the forest / when everything was not as it should have been." One autumn, the trees begin to vanish. At first the woodland creatures blame one another, but as the seasons change, they launch a full investigation, complete with yellow crime-scene tape. When a moose tips the investigators off, they follow the evidence to the bear's house. Driven by his family's legacy of paper-plane champions, the repentant bear explains he chopped the trees to make practice planes. The animal court requires the bear to plant replacement trees, but they also help their new friend by creating a giant paper plane out of his crumpled-up, failed aircrafts. Jeffers's illustrations are meticulously designed, from the characters' expressive eyeballs and stick-figure legs to the use of negative space and the way the text interacts with the artwork. Sophisticated readers may giggle over the mystery and mock trial, and adults may admire the undeniably hip artwork, but the story's message is a bit convoluted, mixing themes of forgiveness, eco-consciousness and teamwork. (Picture book. 6-9)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.98(w) x 11.24(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

 Oliver Jeffers (www.oliverjeffersworld.com) makes art and tells stories. His books include How to Catch a Star; Lost and Found, which was the recipient of the prestigious Nestle Children’s Book Prize Gold Award in the U.K. and was later adapted into an award-winning animated film; The Way Back Home; The Incredible Book Eating Boy; The Great Paper Caper; The Heart and the Bottle, which was made into a highly acclaimed iPad application narrated by Helena Bonham Carter; Up and Down, the New York Times bestselling Stuck; The Hueys in the New Sweater, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year; and This Moose Belongs to Me, a New York Times bestseller. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Oliver now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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