The Great Paper Caper

Last updated Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Author: Oliver Jeffers
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 0399250972
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2013

Synopsis: The animals homes are disappearing. Tree by tree, the forest is being cut down. Clues! There must be clues. For instance, look - there is a mysterious bear carrying an ax! But what would a bear want with so many trees? Perhaps the discarded paper airplanes littering the forest floor have a story to tell?

Oliver Jeffers quirky, childlike humor and lovable illustrations are in full effect in this funny whodunit featuring a winning cast of animals and a message about the importance of conservation and recycling.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is a caper?
•  What does it look like the bear is doing on the cover?
•  Why is the bear cutting the tree branches?

•  caper - an illegal or questionable act; especially theft
•  alibi - a claim that you cannot be guilty of a crime because you were somewhere else when the crime was committed
•  investigate - to try to find out the facts about something (such as a crime or an accident) in order to learn how it happened, who did it, etc.
•  launched - started
•  detective - a person whose job is to find information about something or someone, especially involving a crime
•  judge - a person who has the power to make decisions on cases brought before a court of law; a person who makes a decision or judgment
•  prosecutor - a lawyer who represents the side in a court case that accuses a person of a crime and who tries to prove that the person is guilty
•  eyewitness - a person who sees something happen and is able to describe it
•  evidence - material that is presented to a court of law to help find the truth about something
•  culprit - a person who has committed a crime or done something wrong
•  adjourned - to end something, such as a case (indefinitely or until a later stated time)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What kind of clues were the "investigators/detectives" looking for?
•  What clues do you see throughout the story?
•  How did the bear make it up to the others?
•  How did the others help the bear?
•  Who do you think won the competition?
•  How could the bear have won the competition without cutting the branches? (Hint: He could have asked the others for help sooner & they could use recycled paper.)

Craft ideas:
•  Make paper airplanes. See diagrams on front & back inside cover.
•  Draw your favorite character(s) in a little underground home, like on the first pages of the book. Draw the animal working, relaxing or enjoying a fun hobby.

Special activities:
•  Have a paper airplane contest. Just make sure to have all the kids and volunteers stand together and launch the airplanes away from everyone.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!