A true “tail” with a happy ending.

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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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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