Beavers (The Superpower Field Guide)
Beavers (The Superpower Field Guide)
Most animals that live in northern parts of the world have thick fur to keep them warm in the winter, and beavers are no exception. Beaver fur has up to 100,000 hairs per square inch (20,000 hairs per square centimetre). Your head has about 1,000 hairs per square inch (20 hairs per square centimetre). So if you grew a beaver on your head, each of your hairs would sprout into 100 hairs. Talk about having a hot head!
And that is precisely why beavers almost went extinct—everyone wanted to wear a beaver on their head. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Well, not living beavers. Beaver hats. Or to be perfectly precise, beaver-felt hats. And felt is the all-important word.
You can make felt from any kind of fur or wool. Just boil it until the hairs mat together to form a dense fabric. Sheep felt is probably the most common. Goat hair makes a good felt hat. Camel felt makes a sturdy desert tent. But beaver felt...you know what I’m going to say, right? Beaver felt is the toughest, strongest, best-est felt ever!
If you thought you knew plenty about beavers, this book will refresh your memory and add a whole lot of new content in a fresh and amusing format. Within the “96 pages of gobsmacking facts”, you’ll discover 10 superpower facts about these industrious rodents. For instance, maybe you already knew that all the chewing they do helps to wear down their ever-growing teeth, but do you know exactly how that happens? You might know how a beaver tail is used like a flipper and a warning device in the water, but do you know it is a temperature regulator as well? Of course, beavers are built to spend a lot of time underwater, but who knew they have fur-lined lips “which close behind his incisors so that he can swim with branches in his teeth”? Not only is the beaver outstanding for its physical traits, but also for its skills and habits.
Beavers is truly an up-close and personal examination of Canada’s official national animal. It gives step-by-step details of how a beaver systematically chops down a tree and how and why a dam is built. Some of the neatest information concerns beavers’ creation of wetland habitats that inadvertently benefit entire ecosystems: Superpower #10, unbeatable bog-maker and wetland warrior. A single beaver family can maintain a pond during seasonal droughts providing water to heal dried up wetlands. This has earned the beaver the title ‘keystone species’; hence the rationale behind devoting to the beaver this first ‘field guide’ in an upcoming series about animal heroes. There’s a broad hint that the second volume in "The Superpower Field Guide” series will star "Rosalie the Mole, Bionic Burrower”.
The reader is guided through all these fascinating facts by a young narrator who introduces Elmer as an ordinary, yet extraordinary beaver. Using an engaging, chatty style peppered with humor, the author explains the facts in detail, anticipating every possible question that might arise. The book includes two true/false quizzes (heavy on the humor but with lots of extra facts worked in) and one invitation to draw and label a picture of Elmer’s pond (but not in a library book!). These fun interactive elements further engage and challenge young readers to apply what they’ve read. The book is liberally illustrated with drawings, many in cartoon style, to reinforce the details and make the book highly accessible to visual learners as well. The Glossary clearly defines terms shown in bold italics in the text. A list of “Further Beaver Reading” and websites completes the book.
The appealing style of this natural science book will make it a favorite for youngsters who like to browse the short text sections and illustrations or to test their own knowledge of the topic. Beavers is a fine beginning to an imaginative series.
Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in British Columbia.