Again and again, Little Beaver, eager to play with his friends, claims his dam is finished—but is it?
Art and text combine to provide a plot familiar to a great many children. Each time Little Beaver adds a twig or two to the dam he is supposed to be building, a different friend comes along to lure him away: first Fish (a trout), then Bird (a great blue heron), then Otter. Each time, one of Little Beaver’s parents slaps a tail to call back the errant kit, then reminds him that he needs to do some more work before he may play. There is a good deal of onomatopoeia and gentle rhyming to provide enjoyment to both a read-aloud audience and beginning readers; these sounds are set apart in a larger display type. Examples: “Nibble Nibble Snap” and “Scoop Scoop Pat” as Little Beaver works on the dam; Fish’s “Flish Flish Swish”; and, of course, the “Slap Slap Slap” of Papa’s and Mama’s tails. Children will also learn the rudiments of dam-building as they empathize with Little Beaver’s impatience. The mixed-media art combines a northern woodlands palette of blue and green watercolors for backgrounds; in the foreground are animals that are a pleasant combination of anthropomorphic facial expressions and elegantly rendered, realistic bodies. There is gentle humor throughout.
A bit of natural science combines with a sweet tale of perseverance and camaraderie. (Picture book. 3-5)