Frog and Beaver by Simon James

Frog and Beaver by Simon James
Review Copy from Candlewick Press
Story: James begins his marvelous book, "Every morning Frog woke up from under his leave and looked out over a beautiful river." Frog and the other animals living at the water's edge - the ducks and baby ducks, water voles and baby water voles, all live happily in harmony. Exuberant Beaver arrives, excited to build the biggest, most fantastic dam ever. As the watery homes of the river folk are altered by the dam, they adjust. And Beaver keeps building. When the water dries up all together, Frog tries again to reason with Beaver and get him to understand the impact his project is having on others. Unable to get through to him, the river folk move to the other, watery side of the dam. Until the dam gives way. Now homeless, Frog steps up again and finds a way to work with Beaver, and for Beaver to do his work. And, he even gets a new home out of the deal!
Pictures: James illustrations remind me of a longtime favorite, William Steig, especially his fluid lines and colorful, expressive characters. And nobody draws a cuter ducking that Simon James. Seriously, they are minor characters in this story by I couldn't take my eyes off them! With his big eyes, Frog is great for comic relief, although he is also the hero of the story, persevering with the enthusiastic, tone deaf Beaver.


Why Read? Why Buy?: James, who always delivers a stellar picture book, has created something truly special in Frog and Beaver. Not only is this a book that can be used to talk about ways that animals - and humans - impact the natural world, adaptation is a huge part of this story, both animal and human. Frog and Beaver are perfect stand-ins for kids, for whom learning to work together is a huge part of socialization. This is a book that you can read over and over, a new conversation starting with each and every reading.

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