Monday, May 6, 2019

Beavers: The superpower field guide by Rachel Poliquin, illustrated by Nicholas John Frith

This starter in a new nonfiction series was certainly different. It's a unique combination of old and new elements and I think will be very popular.

The author, sketched as a black and white cartoon figure with a white shirt, black pants, and checked jacket, wants to introduce you, the reader, to the amazing animal that is the beaver. After a brief overview of beavers and their place among the rodents, we jump into their superpowers from teeth to tails, stink to scuba head, this is one tough critter! The book has a glossary and additional reading, from simple to complex, as well as a couple websites. There are no specific sources listed, but the author's credentials are on the back flap.

What really makes this stand out is the combination of cartoons and illustrations and the layout. Cartoon illustrations of "Elmer" the beaver and his mate, "Irma" are scattered throughout, illustrating the concepts, adding humor, and being goofy with the narrator. For more serious illustrations, Frith uses an old-fashioned style that will be instantly familiar to readers of children's nonfiction from the 1960s and 1970s. Carefully drawn illustrations show the beaver in its naturally habitat, building dams, entering and leaving its home, and otherwise living life. There are also panels comparing the beaver to an old-fashioned Superman or lining up rodents by size.

There's a lot of information packed into these 96 pages, but with the frequent illustration breaks, interesting facts, and eye-catching layout, readers will be drawn through the pages to explore these little-known but important animals.

Verdict: A good choice for older kids who are interested in learning more about animals. This is supposed to be a series and I look forward to the next installment.

ISBN: 9780544949874; Published December 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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