One of the most consistently original and inventive picture book ‘authorstrators’, Jeffers just goes from strength to strength. This 40-page picture book demonstrates a total command of the medium, working on multiple levels and providing ongoing intrigue and amusement for both parent and child. Primarily a detective story in the Columbo mould, where the audience is let in on the identity of the perpetrator at the outset, this whodunit cleverly builds its plot through largely visual clues with minimal text.
Something odd is going on in the forest. Branches, whole trees even, are mysteriously disappearing. The forest dwellers are determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. We follow the guilty party as he goes about his illicit business (making paper in his secret paper mill) in preparation for the paper aeroplane championships. And we follow the investigators as they painstakingly follow the trail. There is so much to admire in this book, the balance between knowing postmodern visual reference and simple human warmth, the baddy getting his comeuppance while remaining lovable and remorseful and, not least, the virtuosity of Jeffers’ technique – created through a stunning harmony of old and new technology with delicious use of colour. With excellent all round design and production (including detailed instructions on paper aeroplane construction) this book shows us just how good the best picture books can be.