Camilla and the Big Change

Magination. Mar. 2022. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781433838125.
PreS-Gr 1–Camilla, a boar, and Paisley, a hedgehog, are enjoying a spring day when they hear trees falling. They discover two beavers starting to make a dam. Unhappy about the upcoming change, Camilla accuses them of hurting the forest. The beavers tell her that these are ecologically positive changes, and appeal to her love of maps. They work together, create a map, and help animals move out of the flood zone. Ultimately, Camilla sees it is a good change. This picture book feels overstuffed, cramming dealing with change, information about beaver dams, and basic cartography all into its 32 pages. The didactic text makes little attempt to hide its teaching goals, and one of the beavers continuously uses phrases such as “gappity-gap-gap-gap.” Extensive dialogue explains the positive changes and has Camilla discuss and unpack her emotions. The cartoonish illustrations use an eye-catching mix of single-page illustrations and spreads, with occasional spot art and some large maps to move the story along. The palette is appropriate to the natural forest setting. The book includes extensive back matter on helping children deal with change, explaining the science of beavers, and encouraging spatial thinking.
VERDICT An unremarkable book that preaches too much to the lesson.

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