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Thursday, July 1, 2010

beaver is lost, by elisha cooper. Schwartz & Wade, Random House, 2010. $20.00 ages 3 and up

"Beaver is lost.


And in between the first three and the last one of four words in this story, there is so much to see!

The idea for this book came to Elisha Cooper when he was visiting the zoo in Chicago with his daughters, and he got to wondering what would happen if one of the beavers that seemed so misplaced got lost in the city, which was now its home. As he mulled over that idea, he began to sketch the places that a beaver might find itself in the windy city on the shores of Lake Michigan.

And so he created this wonderful wordless book for our enjoyment!

On the endpapers the observant child will note a floating log on the river. Turn the page and there is another. This one, however, has a beaver atop as it moves downriver from its family and past a logging camp. The log carrier pulls away as the beaver comes alongside. The men working at loading logs and hauling them seem to take note.

Oh, oh! "Beaver is lost."

As we move to the title page and into the city, we see that Beaver has found a place on the log hauler's semi and is quickly moving along an urban freeway, buildings all around and traffic zooming past.

When the truck stops at a lumber yard, Beaver makes his escape but not without difficulty. The yard's guard dog is soon in close pursuit. And so it goes. Beaver is lost in the city and encounters the many places, including the beaver enclosure where this story had its beginnings, where a lost soul might find itself in Chicago. He has a companion who accompanies him on his adventures and eventually helps him find his way back to the river and "Home."

The Chicago skyline, the relentless search for family and the many encounters along the way gives young readers a story of a thousand words, told with four. It speaks to Elisha Cooper's skill with pencil and watercolor and makes me very thankful that one day he took Zoe and Mia to see the beavers at the Chicago Zoo! Amazing!

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