Most readers are accustomed to the expression, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” But what about when it’s raining beavers? That’s exactly what happens in the true story by author Susan Woods (formerly Susan VanHecke) entitled, The Skydiving Beavers: A True Tale.
In the book, readers learn the delightfully singular tale of the busy beavers of McCall, Idaho; how they and their human nemeses encroached on each other’s territory to the point that the beavers continuously flooded roads and toppled trees, and the humans boated and swam in beaver territory, and chopped down the trees the beavers had earmarked for future homes.
To manage the beaver population without bringing harm, one clever man named Elmo Heter found a pristine remote location that would be perfect for the critters, and then set about figuring a way to get them there without causing too much trauma. Readers learn all about the tests and experiments Heter had to perform before he experienced success.
This is a unique little book that may possibly offer solid proof of the old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Readers are introduced to the town’s problem, then they cheer for the man (Heter) who works to solve it. Ms. Wood’s light and breezy prose simultaneously educates and conjures laughter. It teaches young readers how to identify a problem, concoct a solution, and how NOT to take life too seriously, but rather to laugh and take it in stride.
Artist Gijsbert van Frankenhuzen’s rich and sweeping illustrations absolutely take the breath away. His sketches of the furry and focused beavers, the colorful and isolated landscape, the wide smiles of skiers who jet across the page and out of sight, and the unassuming beavers that parachute through the skies, are truly the icing on the cake for this book.
Use this book to discuss inventions, wildlife, ingenuity, and the balance of nature.