Beavers: Radical Rodents and Ecosystem Engineers

Orca. (Orca Wild). May 2021. 128p. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781459824690.
Gr 4-7–This approachable, colorful text explores beavers and their role in shaping nature. The work is divided into four sections: “The Mighty Beaver,” “Habitat Makers and Community Creators,” “From Slaughter to Salvation,” and “Living with Beavers.” Beavers were nearly extinct in North America after destruction of their habitats and over-trapping due to desire for their pelts. People began to realize the impact on the environment caused by the loss of beavers and various attempts were made to reintroduce and support the regrowth of the animal’s population. The book concludes with opportunities for youth to learn in the field and take action. Backhouse writes in the first person at times, leading to a conversational tone. Nearly every page has a photograph. The layout of the book is well designed, easy to navigate, and includes rich graphics to illustrate the content. There are pop-outs within the chapters with examples of people studying and working with beavers that are outside the main narrative but add depth to the information. A glossary and additional resources are included.
VERDICT An engaging book that will leave readers spouting facts about beavers. Students will have a new appreciation for these innovative builders and their significant impact on the landscape and ecosystems of North America.

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