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BUILD, BEAVER, BUILD! by Sandra Markle


Life at the Longest Beaver Dam

by Sandra Markle ; illustrated by Deborah Hocking

Pub Date: March 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4677-4900-8
Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

A young beaver kit grows up in a world in which beavers have lived for generations.

Markle introduces her subject when he's only 3 weeks old, "softball-sized." She follows his growth using like familiar comparisons and documents his changing activities as he begins to imitate his parents, to feed himself, and to contribute to the continued building of the dam and providing for the next generation. She smoothly weaves in details of beaver life: their dams and lodges, their food, their enemies, and their activities as the seasons change. This experienced and award-winning author’s engaging and informative text is not well-served by its packaging. The tantalizing subtitle is misleading, and the illustrations’ stylized wetlands and forests would be more appropriate background for an animated film than an informational picture book. The long beaver dam that is their home is identified only in a short author’s note in the backmatter; Markle doesn't use the superlative “longest.” The green of Canada's north woods is deep and dark, but these illustrations tend toward the cyan. The text is usually set in white on the dark images, appropriate for the nocturnal animal. Shelves that already include Glen Rounds’ classic Beaver (1999) and Jim Arnosky’s Beaver Pond, Moose Pond (2000) probably don’t need this, but it would complement other books about animal life cycles and includes helpful further research suggestions.


(Informational picture book. 3-7)