Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Busy Beaver

While we were reading Making the Moose Out of Life, I was thinking "That nutty beaver really deserves his own book." Apparently, Nicholas Oldland had that same thought, plus the ability to illustrate and create a book. He chose to title it The Busy Beaver, which is funnier and more sensible than That Nutty Beaver.

The expression "busy as a beaver" is a commonly used one, as we all know these animals to be an incredibly busy bunch. This one is no exception. The only problem is, he is so busy that he doesn't take any time to think things through. He's distracted and careless. He fells more trees than he needs, leaves the forest a mess, and builds sub-par damns. Worst of all, the other animals are starting to get hurt by the beaver's careless ways. Bear is clunked in the head by a piece of fallen wood, birds have lost their nest, and moose once looked down at his own leg to see his own leg being enthusiastically chewed.

The mayhem continues until the day the beaver miscalculates the direction of a falling tree and finds himself pinned under it. He wakes up in the hospital, flat on his back, covered in bruises and bandages.While recuperating, the beaver has time to self-reflect. He finally notices the mess he has made of the forest and his injured friends. He feels terrible and resolves to make amends.

Understandably, the others are worried about the beaver's return to the forest, but he remains true to his word. He apologizes to his friends, cleans up the forest, plants saplings to replace the missing trees, and builds a nest for the homeless birds. The beaver also discovers when he isn't rushing around frantically felling as many trees as possible, he has time for other activities he loves .... like naps. And the whole forest is at peace.   

I like how every one of Oldland's book has a lesson to be learned. This is pretty much "stop and smell the roses" but with a "don't chew on your friend's leg" presentation. It is adorable and so very funny. There are plenty of hilarious illustrations, like the way the momma bird clutches her babies in her wings and glares balefully at the beaver after he demolishes her tree. Fantastic way to read your kids an important lesson. 

Review copy provided by Kids Can Press.

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