Building by Henry Cole

Published by Katherine Tegen Books

Summary:  “Building, building.  That is what beavers do best.”  This is the repeated refrain in a story that follows a pair of beavers through a year beginning in late winter.  They pick a spot to live by a stream and build a dam and a lodge.  The dam creates a pond, and the lodge provides a safe place for babies.  As the seasons progress, the beavers face a coyote and a heavy rainstorm, but their defenses protect them from these dangers.  They gather enough twigs and branches to survive the winter, then settle down in the lodge as the snow begins to fall.  Includes an author’s note with additional information about beavers.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  As he did with robins in Nesting, Henry Cole tells a gentle story about beavers as they journey through the seasons.  The detailed illustrations are mostly in black and white with highlights of seasonal colors (green grass, red leaves).  The author’s note invites wonder by contemplating the beavers’ amazing engineering feats.

Cons:  The interaction with the coyote wasn’t quite as dramatic and exciting as the snake attack in Nesting.

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