Rarely in children’s literature does a grown bear break down in court after confessing to illegal deforestation (motivated by his desire to win a paper-airplane competition).

Sat there with his head in his paws, wearing a red bobble hat, you cannot help but sympathise with him. Thankfully, the deer judge is merciful, and after the bear has replanted the trees he cut down, the animals help him build an enormous paper airplane, flying him to competition glory.

 This tale has a South Park sense of humour with ironic twists that every age group will approve of

Oliver Jeffers has a great eye for crime, and sends out a message about the environment that amuses one into action. The words and illustrations are a simple and harmonious counterpoint: winter woodland landscapes, dominated by white space – but injected with pale pinks, purples and greens – are accompanied by sparse text with a dose of subtle humour, as the stick-legged creatures carry out their lengthy and thorough forensic investigation. There’s also a hint of the comic-strip here with thought bubbles that offer up the suspicions of each and every animal inhabitant of the forest.

But just in case you were wondering about the irony of a book that is printed on paper being the vehicle for a moral tale about the downing of forests for the purpose of paper airplanes, you will be glad to know that this woodland animal crime thriller doubles up as a guide to making paper and paper airplanes – with instructions and template hidden under the dust jacket and on the inside cover – extending its life well beyond story time.

FUN FACT: The humidity outside can affect the performance of a paper aeroplane thrown inside

For more than 50 paper airplane designs – and instructions on how to
make them – head to the fabulous Paper Airplane Headquarters website.

Illustrator Profile Born in Australia in 1977, Oliver Jeffers grew up in Northern Ireland. He now lives in Brooklyn, New York and has won countless illustration awards, including the CBI Bisto Award for How to Catch a Star. Although he focuses primarily on children’s books, his work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London and a collection of his illustrations, Neither Here nor There, was published by art and design powerhouse Gestalten in 2012. The boy and penguin from Lost and Found return in the sequel, Up and Down, published in 2011. Thus far (July) in 2014 he has won four new awards, three for his work with The Day The Crayons Quit, as well as The Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts 2014 Inaugural Hay Medal for an Outstanding Body of Work.