By: Mary Holland
Pubisher: Arbordale Publishing
Publication Date: February 2014
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 16, 2014
If you look at a beaver, you might have a bit of trouble believing it could actually be a mammal, but it is. Perhaps you have read about the many characteristics of mammals and know that you too are one. They are a “kind of mammal called a rodent.” If you check out the photograph of a couple of trees in this book, you can see just how they can use their incisors, their “four big front teeth,” to fell a tree. The beavers work hard during the night and sleep during the day so chances are you won’t see them very often. One of the things they do is take sticks they have chewed to “build a dam across a stream.” Amazingly that stream will turn into a pond for their use.
That huge pile of sticks that can sometimes be seen in ponds isn’t just a haphazard jumble of sticks, but rather is a home or lodge. Once the beavers have a large pile they “chew a room inside the pile of sticks.” In order to protect themselves the lodge “usually has more than one door or entrance.” No way do they want any enemies coming into their house. A beaver’s head and body is barely above the water and he glides along the surface. You’ll learn all about the special ways their bodies have adapted to the water. You’ll also learn about how they prepare for winter, how many beavers live in a lodge, what they eat, how many kits they have, and you’ll learn many other fascinating things about the life of the beaver.
This is a marvelous photographic journal of beavers and how they live. One of the most appealing things about this book, of course, are the actual photographs that follow beavers through a season. There is an occasional oval sidebar that will add something of interest to the text. For example, when we see a lodge, there is one that shows an artist’s rendition of a slice of one so we can peek inside. Newly independent readers can tackle this beginning nonfiction book with a bit of assistance with unusual words such as “splinters.” In the back of the book are several activities that can be downloaded and printed from the publisher’s website. This would be an excellent book to read and discuss in the homeschool or classroom setting.
Quill says: This is an exciting look at the life of a beaver young students will love to read and browse though!