Widely known for his series of childrens books intended for kids who may not be able to read yet, acclaimed author Dav Pilkey began to venture outside this realm with a book called The Paperboy. Most of his works are centered stories involving an underwear-clad boy named Captain Underpants or the mischievous canines in the Big Dog and Little Dog series. This book about a boy who works as a paperboy is Dav Pilkey stretching his literary abilities, and it seems to work, because it has earned him a Caldecott Medal.
The protagonist in The Paperboy is a newspaper carrier who leaves the comfort of his warm, snuggly bed in order to deliver newspapers to each and every home on his route. The boy and his job eventually rouse themselves and eat breakfast before they begin their day. The boy wouldn’t head out into the cold unless he loved doing his job, and it shows, because he knows his
route like the back of his hand. His motivation may be the sight of the world as the day breaks. Once he’s finished, the boy returns to his home and
crawls into the warmth of his bed.
The colors used in the illustrations of The Paperboy, from the emerald-colored fields to the violet pre-dawn skies, are vintage Pilkey. They are rich, deep acrylics that depict the starry darkness of the overnight sky and gradually lighten and change to a brilliantly orange and magenta sky as the boy finishes up his route. These are glorious illustrations that gloriously capture an amazing sight that most people ignore – the world just before dawn. Dav Pilkey’s brilliant drawings turn an ordinary job into an extraordinary one.
The simplicity of The Paperboy is what makes this story so wonderful. The boy is doing what he’s supposed to do – nothing out of the ordinary. He’s just being a good boy, making him a wonderful role model
for those who read his story. Dav Pilkey’s tale of this boy comes full circle as the boy starts the day in his warm bed and closes the book with the boy returning to his bed. This is a sweet book and can be a soothing story for many kids, particularly those who are 4-8 years of age and who have much instability in their lives.