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The Great Paper Caper

The Great Paper Caper

Oliver Jeffers
ISBN: 9780007182336

In the forest everyone is happily going about their normal lives. Everything was perfect until suddenly strange things start to happen that disrupt the lives of everyone who lives there. Everyone agrees something must be done, everyone that is except the mysterious culprit, a bear who wants to win at any cost. Ostensibly for younger children this book is deceptive as it could just as easily be used with older children as well due to the quite abstract concepts involved.

This book has been a firm favourite in our house for some time. It concerns a mystery that the animals must solve about trees being chopped down or having their branches cut off. The reader, however, can see what is going on through Jeffers wonderful illustrations.

Tracking a 'crime' through the investigation stage, capture and trial, this story is one of humour with a serious message. The bear is too focussed on winning to see the damage he is causing, and the plot is really one of conservation and recycling as well as the need to be successful in a long line of successful family members. For a picture book this is anything but simple and the plot and trademark asides in the text and pictures add layers of complexity.

Children are very careless about using paper and seem not to realise how the manufacture of paper has a direct influence on trees and the environment. The use of paper is a very easy way to help with conservation and this book amply illustrates that point. There is a lot of potential for drama as well with this story, looking at crime investigation and punishment as well as the need to win. I am a firm believer that great picture books have the potential to be used by children in Key Stage 2 as well as younger ones and this book is just that sort.

Picture book / Ages 4-8 years / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, education consultant.


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