Friday, November 8, 2019
Beavers: The Superpower Field Guide, written by Rachel Poliquin, reviewed by Klaudia Janek
Summary: This book is an informative, nonfiction piece about beavers. Our main characters are Elmer and Irma, both beavers. It includes elements of humor in the facts about these unique animals. The illustrations are heavily based in cartoons, with some elements of realism mixed in. On the cover, the book advertises itself as “96 pages of gobsmacking facts,” which is an accurate depiction of the contents of the book. Did you know that beavers can “snap a tree as thick as your arm in two or three bites. They can chew through a tree truck as thick as your body in less than an hour.” Lots of information in the text and then in boxes and sidebars around the different illustrations. The illustrations have a very mid-century modern feel to them.
Straight Talk for Librarians: This book is a humorous way to get children to learn more about beavers. The facts are interesting in and of themselves, but the humor in which they are delivered makes them all the more entertaining and fun to read. As a young adult, I enjoyed reading this book. Adding to the fun, Poliquin personifies the beavers and makes them behave as characters in a story, and paints them as superheroes with miscellaneous superpowers such as their fur and their teeth. The book also provides opportunities to keep the reader engaged, such as quizzes. It is valuable because it is not an endless barrage of facts which may become tedious to young readers. The illustrations are a very unique and fun style, using a combination of black ink, pencil, and wax crayon to make them really pop. The technique is known as “preseparation”. The technique allows for Frith to create realistic drawings when needed, but generally, he uses it to give what would be boring images of logs a new life and cute style. The book is organized into about 10 chapters focusing on an individual superpower of the beaver. Although it has many pages, perhaps too many for younger readers, it is a relatively easy read. It is a good choice for more advanced readers, as it introduces a simple paragraph structure and isn’t too much of a struggle to understand. The book will appeal to more curious readers, as it is a lot of information presented in a fun way.