Sunday, August 21, 2011
The Busy Beaver, written and illustrated by Nicholas Oldland. Kids Can, 2011. $16.95 ages 3 and up
"The beaver woke up in the hospital with a bent tail, two broken limbs, three cracked ribs, four big bruises, five sprained fingers, six twisted toes, seven little cuts, eight stinging scratches, nine sore muscles and ten nasty slivers."
Just look at those woeful eyes, and tell me you have no interest in opening the cover of this new book by Nicholas Oldland. That beaver looks a bit overcome by it all and that leads me to wonder why.
I know that I truly loved this author's first two books about the animals of this familiar wood. We met Bear in Big Bear Hug, giving hugs to everything in sight, including the woodsman who had come to cut down one of his beloved trees. We met Moose in Making the Moose of It, stranded on a desert island while trying to change the trajectory of his life. They are pals of Beaver; but are not enamored of his 'felling' techniques.
He seems oblivious to the chaos he creates when he takes no notice of his surroundings, or of the animals that share his habitat. He is, in fact, very destructive. He bops Bear on the head with a felled tree, gnaws Moose's leg because he mistakes it for a tree. The animals are annoyed. His slipshod work leads to a disaster for Beaver himself. Without paying attention to where the next tree might fall, he is surprised and distressed to learn that he is in the way.
A hospital stay for multiple breaks and contusions leads to down time, something that has never happened to him. He's always been too 'busy'. As he heals, he has time to think. He realizes, when he takes a careful look at the destruction left in his wake, that he has been rash. He must make amends. A full-out rehab program has him strengthening his body and practicing his 'I'm sorry's.
It takes time for the others to understand that he has seen the error of his ways. It also takes a lot of work. But, Beaver is bent on doing better, and it makes him tired.
Great characters, subtle lesson learned and all is well!