Ok, resistance is futile. I have to review this book. I'd have rather feature a new unknown author or illustrator, but Oliver Jeffers keeps producing such great books that I can't just ignore him. Basically all he has done is in my favourite list:
How to catch a star, Lost and Found, The Incredible Book Eating Boy are just masterpieces. The Way Back Home was nice too. And now this:
"A thrilling tale of mystery, crime, alibis, paper planes, a forest, and a bear who wanted to win."
The story is this:
Things are not as they should be in the forest. Branches have been disappearing from the trees mysteriously. All the inhabitants are puzzled. The owl, the duck, the beaver, the pig, the fawn and the boy. They all start accusing each other but they all solid alibis. So they decide to get to the bottom of things and find the culprit...
As usual Oliver Jeffers uses bare, almost stylized illustrations, that manage to be so surprisingly expressive. I mean, he draws sticks for legs (with no feet), dots for eyes, the boy's body is a rectangle and basically everything looks like is being sketched. And yet they are enriched by small details, humour, imagination and originality, that bring everything to life.
The story is a mystery with a final important message: "save the trees". But also "learn how to make great paper planes"!
I love its autumn feel, it's just perfect for the season.
Also for a picture book with fairly little text it introduces some big words like "alibi" and "prosecutor".
And as if all this wasn't enough, Oliver Jeffers added a little extra which should make a lot of kids happy. The dust jacket (which doesn't appear in the picture of the cover that I found) is a paper plane manual in disguise! Once you take it off it reveals an even better cover and the jacket can be read and then used for making a plane,but I haven't tried it cause I've only borrowed the book :)
Oh and it also has instructions on how to make more paper after you've finished using the plane, which should be very interesting.
For "All Ages +", as the back cover says.