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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 10 September 2008
This is an absolutely brilliant picture book - a crime to solve and illustrations that excite and draw in the child reader.
The story line is that, in a nutshell, branches are going missing from trees in the forest and the animals set about working out who has taken them. Meanwhile, we see bear with an axe, a saw, a pile of paper, and getting cross with an unsuccessful paper aeroplane. Can we, the readers, work out what is going on in the woods before the animals do?
The animals identify bear as the culprit and he's taken to the police station and then questioned in court where we learn why he has been taking the branches. These are very grown-up concepts and Jeffers has successfully kept the `criminal procedures' both clear and simple, perfect for foundation stage children and Key stage 1 (2-7). The text is short on each double page - only a sentence or two - and there's always something interesting to look at as well, whether it is bear in the background hurrying away, a clue on the ground or looking at the animals thought bubbles. My son (4), for example, loves to dwell on the opening picture of homes under the ground for all the animals before we have even got going on the story.
The illustrations are a bit quirky, with a wry humour for the adult reader, and yet are boldly stylish. The pages have a clean fresh wooden feel to them which is consistent with the green message of the book's publisher - the paper the book is printed upon is from replenished forests. The animal's speech bubbles, in which there are small pictures rather than text, are consistent in their size and almost-rectangular shape so that on opening this book you feel as if you've walked into Habitat! The pictures are also cleverly done to appeal internationally, with North American/Canadian animals suited to the logging habitats such as the beaver and the moose mixing with a boy, a goose and a pig who use a traditionally British red phone box to call generic cop and police car. [My children were also pleased to spot the Jeffers Penguin's cameo appearance as a court spectator.]
After the court case, and after bear has planted seeds to replace the trees he cut down, the animals all help him to achieve his dream, reusing his many prototypes to build a winning paper aeroplane, as bear generations had before him.
This brilliant book also has a bit of "paper planery" on it's end papers (bear's drawings on folding aeroplanes) and a more advanced set of instructions on the secrets of Paper-makery, the recycling of paper in your own home. In all, a fantastic and rounded package of a story.
A masterstroke, and I think Jeffer's best book so far.
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Oliver Jeffers is the only children's author for whom I check for new releases every-now-and-then, so I was well chuffed to see his latest book available on Amazon.

This is typical of Jeffers' work - a story which isn't too simplistic, accompanied with some fantastic artwork. Jeffers' is my favourite illustrator, he has a unique style and I love the way that the characters really seem to come to life.

This story about how tree branches are going missing contains annotations in the illustrations and little speech bubbles. So depending on whether you want a quick story, or a longer story time session - you can read through those also. The illustrations concerning the ensuing investigation made me chuckle, with creatures hiding behind trees and police investigation tape!

In a nutshell: This isn't a book you'll read with your child once only for it to be put to the bottom of the pile. This is an involved story which introduces fairly articulate concepts and words, this is the only childrens book I've got with the word "alibi" in it for example! Jeffer's has done it again. It looks great and the story is funny without being ridiculous, make sure you spot the penguin (the one introduced in his book Lost and Found)!
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on 25 May 2009
An excellent use of paper. Highly recommended. But not if you are missing your humanity. If you are missing your humanity, you will miss the point. Don't say I didn't warn you.
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on 12 February 2009
My family are all big Oliver Jeffers fans so we were very excited about the latest title. The Great Paper Caper is quite different from previous books, although it does have the usual fantastic illustrations and off-the-wall story line. What I don't like so much is the lack of sufficient text on most pages. This either makes the story painfully slow (to allow time to look at the great pictures), or you have to race past the pictures to pace the story well. My only other criticism is that it stops very abruptly and without a real ending.

It's still a good children's book but definitely not as good as other Oliver Jeffers creations.
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on 13 October 2015
I love the book. Brilliant story, graphics and topic. However the text is small for the young reader, and much of the dialogue is left for the reader o imagine. Understandably, if your lo cannot read o. Their own, this might not be the best book out there.
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on 10 February 2015
I like the book that's called the great paper caper because in the story the bear was chopping all of the trees down and then the owl and the duck and the moose and the beaver and the person and the pig didn't have nowhere to live.
By Aaliyah in Year 2 at The Willows School and EYC
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on 24 April 2014
Oliver Jeffers's picture books are a favourite in our house, with this one currently holding the top spot.

The images are engaging, and the characters and tale are unique and entertaining.

You won't be disappointed with this book, and neither will the kids.
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on 6 April 2009
My three-year-old loves Oliver Jeffers' other books, but was underwhelmed by this latest offering. The plot is weak and uses concepts like "judge" and "prosecutor" which - for this audience - are just a bit complex while failing to entertain the adult reader either. My kids (5 and 3) were not engaged with the story after two readings, and it's at the bottom of our book pile.
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on 17 October 2010
As usual I quickly read through the book after receiving it to make sure I was prepared in case any horrible monsters lurked over the page for my 3 1/2 year old son, and I was right to do so. Not because of the horrible monsters (there aren't any in this book), but because something magical happened about half way through.

In the book, there has been a crime. A mysterious crime that grows throughout the story, and while the animals in the forest get closer to catching the culprit, we see, almost in the background of the large, pastel feeling, double page illustrations, the criminal escalating his escapades.

As it says on the sleeve:
"A thrilling tale of mystery, crime, alibis, paper planes, a forest and a bear who wanted to win.'

This was all fine, the crime is that someone (the bear) has been stealing branches from the forest, and they're caught in the end and everyone lives happily ever after. So, no problems there. At the end of the story I did find myself thinking `I'll have to mention that he says `sorry' after he's caught' (something absent from the book itself), since that's the right thing to do. At first, it was only at the end I felt I needed to add a bit more context to wrap up the consequences of the crime more neatly (or rather, so that it was more consistent with our up-bringing of our son!).

However, in the middle of the 37 page book there is a sequence of pages with no text what-so-ever, on more than 10 pages the narrative is played out through a series of images. Sometimes a whole page for one suggestion, sometimes a page of small comic like panels. There's definitely a sense that `less is more' with the text, therefore I felt I had to fill the gaps with my own words. Not by choice, but on reflection, its this that makes `the Great Paper Caper' truly great.

The first time I read the book, I was inundated with questions. "Why did the bear take the branches? Why isn't he in jail? What happens to the other animals? What's a beaver? (how did we forget beavers in his menagerie of stuffed creatures!?) Oh, and my favourite "What's a telephone box?" which represents my official initiation into the generation of "In my day..." fathers!

This was a first. He's never asked so many questions during a book before. Was it because this was his first `detective' story? Or that there are unanswered plot points in the story? Who knows. It kept his interest more than I expected, and we've had it every night for a week now. He's fascinated.

Each night, a new question. With each question, there has to be an answer, and so, over the course of a week, we have built up an extra layer to Oliver Jeffers story. Even the inclusion of speech bubble dialogue means you have to add `Said the Beaver' as you read out the story, which I felt further nudges you towards this `story gap filling'.

Now when we read the book, the main story arc is still there, but the motives are now part of the start of the story (the bear needs the branches to make paper for a paper aeroplane competition), and extra conversations between the animals about consequences of the bears' actions, oh, and a patch on recycling too. These elements have all evolved into `our' version of the story.

Which made me wonder, was this the authors intention? Or is it a happy side effect; leaving out elements of a children's story (or rather, choosing to tell the story only with pictures), creates a new / different story with the parent and the child as they make up the gaps.

If so, its genius, and I tip my hat to Mr. Jeffers, and if not, well, that's a happy side effect indeed.
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on 7 March 2013
Oliver jeffers is amazing

some of his books get a bit too abstract in my opinion (a heart kept inside a bottle anyone?)

But this is the perfect balance of story and weirdness. its kinda like how I imagine a wes anderson children's book would feel like. and thats a good thing
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