Kari Stai: YESPER AND NOPER-series

Cover of "Yesper and Noper and the Time Machine"

Jakob og Neikob-serien
Published by Samlaget 2008 – 2022

NEW! 7 Yesper and Noper and the Time Machine
Jakob og Neikob og tidsmaskinen.
The seventh and final book about best buddies, Yesper and Noper
This is a story about time – which can go quickly or stand still. And get lost. Best friends Yesper and Noper go to bed after a long, busy day. They’re keen to get some rest. But when they wake up again at last, they find they’ve slept for ten whole years. What’s happened to all that time? Have they lost it? Can the Thief have stolen it? Can they buy some time from Slowper at the corner shop, who always has all the time in the world? Or could a time machine be their salvation?

Book review from NRK P2 (Norwegian Broadcasting, radio P2: 2 April 2022

“In the seventh book in the series, Kari Stai concludes with a one-of-a-kind children’s adventure. What do we do with the time available to us? Do we use it actively or do we store it up? Is it possible to steal time or can it be bought? These are the kind of questions that best friends Yesper and Noper are grappling with.   …. The book has all the hallmarks of a classic. …  It will stand the test of time.

The aim of introducing the very youngest readers to complex ethical dilemmas gets a thumbs up from me. When the stakes are raised in a grounded, everyday story, the end result is superb children’s literature.”

The daily newspaper Klassekampen wrote “… a highly successful exploration of some very big questions. The book has the whole scope of human life within its sights”.

Kari Stai is the creator of the popular and award-winning characters Yesper and Noper (Jakob og Neikob). They are the best of friends even though they are very different. Yesper says YES to everything, and Noper says NO to everything. They have had success both at home and abroad with six books, an animated short on children’s television, four adaptations for the stage, and mobile apps for the first three books.

Cover of "Yesper and Noper"

1 Yesper and Noper (2008)
For Yesper and Noper Stai was awarded the Ministry of Culture’s début prize in 2009. The jury said: “This is an ideal and thorough picture book with an unusual palette whereby the cheerful mood of the illustrations complements the text. Although the book is meant for young readers, the short and plain text conveys an important message”.

Visually stimulating accompanied by a humorous and smart text.
Six books that have become modern classics

Cover of "Yesper and Noper - The Thief Strikes Back"

2 Yesper and Noper – The Thief Strikes Back (2012).
Yesper always says YES and Noper the opposite, but the Thief who has escaped from jail does not care about either YES or NO. When Yesper and Noper pursue the thief, they are tricked, and Yesper must go to prison. Fortunately, everything turns out well, and Yesper learns that sometimes you do have to say NO.
The Thief Strikes Back received both the Brage Prize and the Critic’s Prize .

“Takes children seriously
Kari Stai’s sequel of the successful book
Yesper and Noper, from 2008, is even better than the first book.
The framework is simple: Yesper and Noper are the world’s best friends. But Yesper always says yes, and Noper says no. This can be a source of conflict, if one is not inventive. But that’s exactly what they are, Yesper and Noper, who are also physically opposite poles (…) Kari Stai is inventive language-wise, she allows children to taste the true meaning of the words and simply let them feel the consequences of language. In this way, she examines essential philosophical questions in an accessible way.
– NRK’s cultural radio P2

Cover of "Yesper and Noper and the Empty room"

3 Yesper and Noper and the Empty Room (2014)
Yesper and Noper are best of friends and live together in a tall house. Yesper lives on the ground floor, and Noper on the first floor. But the attic is all empty. ‘We need a housemate,’ says Noper. But what starts as a mutual project for the friends ends in an argument. For the first time, the best friends have become enemies. The third book about Yesper and Noper is about the big issues in life: friendship, reconciliation and, of course, Christmas.

“Kari Stai’s Yesper and Noper – the Thief Strikes Back was undoubtedly one of the most perfectly realised publications in Norwegian in 2012 across all genres. (…) we can all look forward again to savouring Stai’s exquisite interplay between text and images, with every word and every geometrical line working closely together. A book about friendship and reconciliation by one of our most stylistically talented authors of books for readers of all ages.”
– Morgenbladet

Cover of "Yesper and Noper – The Neighbour"

4 Yesper and Noper – The Neighbour (2016)
One day, Yesper and Noper see that they have a new neighbour. Yesper is happy, while Noper is extremely sceptical, building a tall fence to stop their neighbour coming to see them. Yesper builds a bridge precisely to enable the neighbours to visit each other. Hasn’t Yesper heard that you’re not supposed to talk to strangers? When their neighbour suddenly closes the curtains, Noper thinks this is clear proof: the neighbour has something to hide!
Yesper and Noper – The Neighbour deals with fear of the unknown and the realisation that what might seem unfamiliar or scary can be quite wonderful, if only you can bring yourself to reach out to the unknown.

“Yesper and Noper – The Neighbour does more than complement this already wonderful and extraordinary series, it provides food for thought and encourages even small children to question given truths.”
– NRK’s cultural radio P2

Cover of "Yesper and Noper and Everyone Else"

5 Yesper and Noper and Everyone Else (2018)
– Noper, are you sad?
– NO, I am devastated, Noper says. I want to be like Everyone Else.
– Do know who Everyone Else is then? Yesper asks.
– NO. Will you come with me to find him?
– YES, says Yesper.
Yesper and Noper search everywhere for Everyone Else: on the bus, in the ocean and in space. Finally, they find him on Planet Uno. And there is also a cloning machine there. Can Noper actually be like Everyone Else?
Kari Stai’s sketches and stories about these two best friends, Yesper and Noper, have led to thoughtful discussions about social issues. This is the fifth book about the duo, and it is is also the best. The forever-positive Yesper and the equally forever-negative Noper, clearly identified by Stai’s distinctive drawings, are great tools for shining a spotlight on modern issues… This is an extremely entertaining, scary, funny and original story, both in terms of the text and its illustrations
– Adresseavisen

Cover of "Yesper and Noper – The Storm"

6 Yesper and Noper – The Storm (2019)
Yesper and Noper are in climate trouble. They are out pruning their garden when Screwloose zooms past on her way to the factory.
– Can you really build anything imaginable there? ask Yesper and Noper.
– Anything at all in the blink of an eye! replies Screwloose.
Yesper and Noper are very impressed about this. They start filling their house with carloads of everything possible. But where is Noper going to put his special breathing spot and romping room now? And when The Storm arrives and sweeps Yesper and Noper up into the air, they discover something extraordinary. The Earth has been transformed. Now it’s full of rubbish. That’s when they realise they need to do something: They have to help Screwloose. Now they know exactly what she needs to make in her factory.

1 Yesper and Noper sold to China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, India (Hindi, Bengali and English), Israel, Italy, North Macedonia, South Korea, Ukraine and Uruguay.
2 Yesper and Noper – The Thief Strikes Back sold to China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, India (Hindi, Bengali and English) , Italy and South Korea.
3 Yesper and Noper and the Empty Room sold to China, Italy and South Korea.
4 Yesper and Noper – The Neigbour sold to South Korea.
Format: 21 cm × 26,5 cm, 32 pages with full-page illustrations.

Kari Stai (b. 1974) is a Norwegian illustrator, author and artist. She is graduated from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts with an MA in Visual Communication, in addition to studies at other Norwegian art colleges. Besides the Yesper and Noper-series she has published other picture books including the board books Mopp and Mikko (2010). In 2021 she made the illustrated novel So-so Happy (for readers 9 – 12). She has also illustrated a wide range of books by other writers.