a greatness of oliver jeffers’

30 DAYS OF PB 2013 aDay Twenty-Eight: The Great Paper Caper

by Oliver Jeffers

Philomel Books, 2008.


great paper cover

“There was a time in the forest…

when everything was not as it should have been.”

As branches began disappearing from their tree-homes, the local inhabitants began to suspect something amiss. After turning on one another and finding airtight alibis, they begin to investigate.

The Great Paper Caper is Natalya’s pick for the best picture book of the ’30 Days.’ I have to agree. This is saying a lot consider the caliber of books shared. On the level of humor, aesthetic, and engagement, Jeffers is winning here. He even throws in an environmental lesson on community and resources. Buy this one. 

great paper caper section

Why else…

–a human child is an inhabitant of the forest.

–the animals speak in pictures.

great paper caper inset

–the loneliness of the bear vs the grouping of the other animals. & how this changes by story’s end.

–the papers fluttering like leaves.

–boy and penguin reference to other Jeffers books.

–the pig cooking bacon. a boy bathing.

–how they are discussing their alibis while the bear is in the background chopping a limb; rolling out ‘police tape’ around a stump with the bear folding planes on a stump in the background. Similarly, looking for clues and finding none while one discarded paper airplane is only a few feet away.


–the dry humor

–The owl missing his branch page.

great paper caper page

–The bear’s motives alluded to none too subtly on a sign attached to a tree & station wall.

–The police line up of stick-legged bears & teddy.


The storytelling is smart, it is funny and I cannot imagine a child would not find themselves laughing at character antics and pointing out the clues. The criminal bear is quite sympathetic, and the revelation and resolution sincere thanks to the quiet image-story building throughout.

{images by Oliver Jeffers}


Published by L

I read, and I write. and until recently, I sold books.

5 thoughts on “a greatness of oliver jeffers’

  1. I’m a big fan of Oliver Jeffers. Have you read his Lost and Found? That’s great, and The Heart in the Bottle is simply brilliant.

    1. I’ve read Lost & Found and you’re right, it is wonderful! but I have not read The Heart in the Bottle. I will have to fix this–thanks for the heads-up!

  2. I would super-duper love to win a copy of this. Have you seen the great Oliver Jeffers videos on Youtube? Well worth doing a search of his name and checking them out.

  3. I think Lali’s sense of humor is already showing signs of being a little twisted…I would so love to read this book to her.

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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