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Friday, November 23, 2018

The SUPERPOWER Field Guide: BEAVERS. Written by Rachel Poliquin and illustrated by Nicholas John Frith. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Raincoast. 2018. $26.50 ages 9 and up

"I can almost hear you saying, “But aren’t beavers just lumpy rodents with buck teeth and funny flat tails?” Yes, they are! And believe it or not, those buck teeth and funny flat tails are just a few of the things that make beavers extraordinary."

If you thought that you didn't want to know anything about beavers, this fascinating and funny new book will surely change your mind! It is so much fun to spend the time given to learning as much as Rachel Poliquin is willing to contribute to our learning.

Elmer and Irma are life partners, having been together for six years already. The author sees them as real 'superheroes" and is more than happy to offer up compelling reasons when considering the superpowers that make them so.

  (That means Elmer is King of the Floods!)

Ms. Poliquin then goes on to describe each of these superpowers in the most interesting, instructive and inspiring way. The text is chatty, and accessible for its target audience. There are quizzes throughout meant to test the reader's memory and absorption of pertinent facts. Nicholas John Frith adds humor and delight with his illustrations done is black ink, pencil and wax crayon on paper (with digital color).

"A family of beavers can make a small dam overnight. But if you give beavers time, they can make a dam that's visible from space! It's true - the biggest beaver dam on record is 2, 800 feet (850 meters) long. It's in Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta, Canada. If you flipped that dam upright, it would stand as tall as the Great Pyramid of Giza stacked on top of the Eiffel Tower stacked on top of the Empire State Building!"

Bet you didn't know that, did you?

There is a glossary in back matter, and a helpful bibliography for those wanting to learn more.

This is the first book in a planned middle-grade nonfiction Superhero Field Guides series. Full of the facts, and humorous as all get-out, it will have many fans. If it is any indication of what we might expect in the future, bring on MOLES (scheduled for publication in June 2019).

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