A true “tail” with a happy ending.

READ REVIEW

THE SKYDIVING BEAVERS

A TRUE TALE

An Idaho game warden invents an ingenious solution for a growing town’s wildlife problem in this tale set in 1948 Idaho.

Characterized as “a lovely place” and so portrayed in van Frankenhuyzen’s golden meadows and hilly vistas, the town of McCall would be idyllic—except that humans “muscling in” on the local beavers’ habitat means that it is vulnerable to flooded roads and downed trees. What to do? Enter Elmo Heter, a beaver expert with a notion that the remote Chamberlain Basin would be a fine place for beavers to live. Wood spins the tale as a yarn (“But Elmo had a problem. A big problem. A big, transportation-type problem”) but sticks to historical records in describing how Heter considered and rejected various ways of safely moving the beavers before designing and (with the unwitting assistance of a beaver he calls Geronimo) testing a box that could be parachuted from an airplane and would open automatically upon landing. In her closing note the author reports that the successful airlift moved 76 beavers all told. She also perceptively suggests that communities today would more likely opt either to exterminate or, better, find ways of coexisting with local fauna. Human figures in the illustrations are all white.

A true “tail” with a happy ending. (beaver facts, source list) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58536-994-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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