The Paperboy

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A paperboy and his dog enjoy the quiet of the early morning as they go about their rounds.

A paperboy and his dog enjoy the quiet of the early morning as they go about their rounds.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pilkey (When Cats Dream; the Dragon books) is at his best in this highly atmospheric work. Here his trademark color palette glows quietly under the cover of darkness; violet skies and emerald-shadowed fields predominate until the explosion of a fiery dawn. Early one cold morning a boy and his dog rise to deliver newspapers. In almost reverential silence they eat breakfast, prepare the newspapers, then step out into the chill, leaving sleeping parents and sister inside. Pilkey perfectly captures the thrill of being out early, seeing the world so new and having it all to oneself. Something magical is at work on this most ordinary of paper routes, tangible in the controlled hush of the narrative and in the still, moon-lit landscapes. And, at last, as his family awakens to golden sunlight, the paperboy returns to his bed, prepared to enter another familiar Pilkey world: dreamland. Ages 4-10. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
In the dark, just before dawn, a young boy rises to make preparations and set out on his paper route. The quiet of the breaking day and the beauty of the world waking up are captured in the glorious illustrations. After his deliveries are made, the young boy returns home and crawls back into bed . Pilkey's illustrations make an ordinary activity extraordinary.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3A quiet mood piece that depicts the bond between a paperboy and his dog. Human and canine both struggle to rouse themselves, eat breakfast from bowls, and have an intimate knowledge of their route. Pilkey paints their shared experiences with a graceful economy of language. Morning is the third character in the story"...this is the time when they are the happiest." Deep, sumptuous acrylics portray the initial darkness, the gradual lightening, and the riotous magenta and orange sunrise. The artist has cleverly designed parallel, yet contrasting, opening and closing scenes of the African American child in bed, feet covered by his dog, room framed by a sloping roof. In the first spread, the still starry morning surrounds the house and "enters" it through the uncurtained window. When the duo return and crawl back into bed, the shade is pulled against the brilliance, the room darkeneda scene clinching their camaraderie. A totally satisfying story for small groups or individuals.Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Carolyn Phelan
In the quiet hour before dawn, a boy and his dog get out of their warm bed, eat their breakfasts, and deliver the newspapers. Riding his bike along the delivery route, the boy thinks about "Big Things. And small things. And sometimes he is thinking about nothing at all." Meanwhile, his dog travels the same route in his own way: "He knows which trees are for sniffing. He knows which birdbaths are for drinking, which squirrels are for chasing, and which cats are for growling at." Happy together before the rest of the world awakes, they finish the job and head back home to bed, where they dream of flying across the night sky. The story tells the details of a paperboy's morning in a matter-of-fact way, and young children will find those details fascinating: the wordless pages that show how the papers arrive at the boy's house; the paperboy snapping the green rubber bands around the rolled newspapers; and the empty red bag flapping behind the boy as he pedals home. The dual story of boy and dog adds dimension throughout and leads to a satisfying conclusion, but just as important is the sense of time passing within the story and the artwork. Using simplified shapes and muted colors shot with light, the acrylic paintings include beautifully composed landscapes and interiors, ending with a Chagall-like dream scene on the last page. An evocative mood piece, this captures the elusive feeling of being outside before dawn.
Kirkus Reviews
A quiet, solid mood piece with a quiet, solid protagonist, who becomes a hero simply by doing his job every day. The soft prose and starlit illustrations evoke the paperboy's suburban world, as he tiptoes past the bedroom doors of his sleeping family and bikes with his dog through the chilly predawn air. The paperboy is black and, in these paintings, looks a little like another solitary hero, Peter, in Ezra Jack Keats's The Snowy Day (1962). The paperboy's story has a satisfying roundness, beginning and ending in the snug warmth of his bed. The paper route interrupts his dream life, but also extends it: It gives him time to think about the big and little things in his day. When dawn comes it is a celebration, a daily miracle, and the whole book brightens its hue. Pilkey (The Hallow-Wiener, 1995, etc.) may have created a throwback to a simpler time by presenting work as a desirable activity for children; this book is a gentle salve for the instability in so much of modern life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756979102
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Sales rank: 797,929
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Dav Pilkey

DAV PILKEY is the creator of many acclaimed children's books, including Dogzilla, Kat Kong, god bless the gargoyles, and the bestselling Captain Underpants series. His book The Paperboy received a Caldecott Honor. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Dav Pilkey has written and illustrated numerous popular, award-winning books for children, including the Captain Underpants and Dumb Bunnies series; DOG BREATH, winner of the California Young Reader Medal; and THE PAPERBOY, a Caldecott Honor Book. He lives with his wife in the Pacific Northwest. Visit him online at

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    Great bedtime book!  So relaxing for the kiddos. Artwork it fant

    Great bedtime book!  So relaxing for the kiddos. Artwork it fantastic!

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  • Posted June 21, 2009


    Both the story and the illustrations are magical!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2008

    Exquisite and Magical

    The illustrations and the text of this book are truly magical. My 2 1/2 year old son adores it and will continue to get so much out of it as he gets older. I would highly recommend it for any child ages 2 to 6.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2006


    Wonderful book, gorgeous illustrations. Setting feels as if you too are waking up before sunset,in the calm quiet time of the paperboy. The paperboy and his dog deliver the morning paper in a happy,well told, unique story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2000

    Great for Any Age!

    This book offers insight into the life of a newspaper delivery boy. It is a book that most any child can relate to. With beautiful illustrations it is a great addition to any collection.

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    Posted May 31, 2015

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    Posted December 2, 2009

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    Posted June 29, 2010

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