Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Great Paper Caper

Jeffers, Oliver (Author/Illustrator)
HarperCollins 2009. 40 pages
First published: 2008
ISBN: 9780007182336 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This delightful, funny story is set among forest creatures (including a child), and combines a bumbling detective-courtroom drama with an environmental message. Poker-faced language portrays the creatures as hilariously dim-witted—while being uncomfortably familiar, too. “Branches, they agreed, should not disappear from trees like that. Someone, they agreed again, must be stealing them and they each in turn blamed the other.”

Charming illustrations are defined with fine lines and flat colour. Their compositions reference diagramming techniques, with cutaway images and pull-point insets that enrich the narrative. In one spread, diagrams decorate the wall of the bear’s paper-making shed. He stuffs a tree into one end of the machine; out the other flies a ream of paper. Later, in the court scene, the bear confesses his mistake, explaining he was blinded by his need to win a paper airplane contest.

“Hmm, well all right, they all thought.” The bear atones by planting new trees, while everyone collects his discarded paper to help him build the winning airplane—a fair and reasonable verdict that will be appreciated by readers of all ages.

  •  

    Brainstorm synonyms for the word caper. From the title, predict what the story is going to be about. What clues from the story helped you predict the outcome?

  •  

    Discuss why the characters were upset. What measures did they take to solve their problem? Was it a fair one? What lesson did the bear learn? Have you ever done something without asking? If so, what happened?

  •  

    Why is it important to protect forests? Research products that are made from trees, and how trees play a role in helping us breathe. Discuss the importance of conservation and replanting.

  •  

    Discuss the illustrations in the book. What is unique or different? If the characters could speak, what would they say? 

  •  Create a story map with the key characters and events from the story. 
  •  

    In small groups, act out the story.

  •  

    Discuss what the bear was doing. What were the consequences of his actions? Did the judge make the correct decision? Should the other animals forgive the bear for what he did? Explain. 

  •  

    List ways people can take better care of the environment. 

  •  

    Hold a paper airplane competition to see whose plane can fly the furthest. Develop the competition rules and create a poster to announce the event. 

  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology