Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beaver is Lost

Beaver is Lost
by Elisha Cooper
(Schwartz & Wade Books) 2010
Source: Orange County Public Library

A beaver is happily nibbling on a floating log when he finds himself on top of a log pile attached to a truck. The truck unloads in a lumberyard in Chicago where a German Shepherd chases the beaver out of the yard and into a nearby pool. From here, the beaver walks through the house to a local zoo where he is noticed by a little girl who alerts security. Once again the beaver on the lam is chased and he finds himself in downtown Chicago. How will this plucky beaver find his way back home?

Beaver is Lost is a practically wordless (with the exception of two short sentences) gem that could accompany a lesson on story elements (beginning, middle, end), sequence, or cause and effect. Elisha Cooper's illustrations keep the reader's interest in a couple of ways. The illustrations may be two large panes or several smaller panes which take it from picture book to graphic novel mode. There are also several details in the illustrations which make rereading an adventure. It would be an interesting extension activity for students to write words for the last panel of the book. My experience with using wordless books is that they can lead to a richer discussion of the plot since students have to work harder to think about what is happening.

Other reviews of Beaver is Lost:
Seven Impossible Things (interview with Elisha Cooper)

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