December 9, 2011

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Little Beaver And The Echo

HINT For Beth's Birthday Hunt Clue #8

A = Alpha
B = Bravo
C = Charlie
D = Delta

etc... :)

If you still don't get it, email me :)

Hurray!  It's Friday!  Not only is the weekend nearly here, but it's time for Perfect Picture Books :)  Today's story was a birthday gift which became a favorite:

Little Beaver And The Echo
Written By: Amy MacDonald
Illustrated By:  Sarah Fox-Davies
Puffin, September 1998 (Original printing Putnam, 1990)
Suitable For: ages 4-8
Themes/Topics: Friendship, Loneliness, Animals, Echoes
Opening And Brief Synopsis:  Little Beaver lived all alone by the edge of a big pond.  He didn't have any brothers.  He didn't have any sisters.  Worst of all, he didn't have any friends.  Little Beaver cries out in his loneliness and hears that someone across the pond is lonely too.  His kind heart doesn't want anyone to be sad, so he sets out to find this other lonely creature and solve both their problems.

Links To Resources:  Little Beaver Activities  Little Beaver will fit nicely into discussions of friendship, the natural world, animals, understanding echoes.

Why I Like This Book:  Little Beaver And The Echo is a simple, sweet story about friendship.  The story line is quiet.  The illustrations are warm and engaging.  To me, this is everything a picture book should be - pleasant, comforting, entertaining, and beautiful.  It interests me that School Library Journal panned this book when it came out.  They called it didactic, neither realistic nor convincing, confusing, flat, precious, and predictable.  Ouch!  And yet this book has been successfully in print for over 20 years, and is a story my children asked for again and again that I was happy to read.  It just goes to show different people react to books in different ways!

Please click here to see the complete list of books with resources Perfect Picture Books.

I'd be interested, if any of you have read Little Beaver, to know what your take on it is!

Now I'm off to read everyone else's Perfect Picture Book.  In only 4 weeks I have come to look forward to Fridays to see what books people choose.  I am finding out about so many wonderful books.  I hope you're all enjoying Perfect Picture Books, too, and finding lots of material to read to your kids, use in your classrooms, study your writing craft, or all of the above!  Don't forget to add your link to the list below if you've posted a Perfect Picture Book!  (And readers, the links to all the books are below the Holiday Contest!)

While you're enjoying your weekend, don't forget about the Holiday Contest - only one week away!  Here's a refresher in case you haven't seen it:

Write your own version of Clement C. Moore's traditional poem, 'Twas The Night Before Christmas!  Entries must be at least 12 lines/3 stanzas, not to exceed 40 lines/10 stanzas (although I realize the original is 56 lines/14 stanzas, but I'll have to read them all during the week before Christmas :))  Entries may refer to any winter holiday you celebrate (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.) or to any combination of winter holidays, or no holiday - just a good winter-time story if you're not comfortable with a holiday.  I chose a rhyming challenge because so many people seem keen on it, but if the idea of rhyme strikes fear and loathing into your heart, you may write a prose version not to exceed 350 words :)

Entries must be posted on your blogs, or copied and pasted into the comments on my blog between Monday December 19 and Thursday December 22.

3 finalists will be chosen for you to vote on Monday December 26.  The winner will receive their choice of a $15 Amazon gift card (to buy themselves whatever book they really wanted and didn't get as a holiday gift :)) or the 2012 Children's Writers and Illustrators Market!

Have a great weekend, everyone! :)


  1. I'll chime in happily on Little Beaver and the Echo, Susanna. I did a review a couple of months ago on it and I found it charming, simple and comforting. I am soo glad I hadn't read the SLJ's opinion beforehand. I really agree with your comments. This may be because I have a soft spot for beavers, but I don't think so!

    But, you know, we don't have to all agree on these choices and reviews. It is also the advantage of pooling a group of reviewers, as you are, and having varied perspectives.

  2. I hope Little Beaver found someone to be friends with! I'm going to try the link thing once again I have my fingers crossed!

  3. Awww, poor little beaver! I don't remember this book. If it's been in print for so long I probably have read it. Maybe I just don't remember.

    I love your PB Fridays, Susanna. I'm getting good ideas for my nieces and nephews! Yes, I'm the aunt who gives books for birthdays and Christmas. :) But luckily they all love to read, and I hope they always love it!

  4. That book sounds so familiar to me... and it sounds as though I'd love it.


  5. I haven't read Little Beaver but it looks adorable and I love the premise of the story. A twenty plus year run is certainly a better indicator than one bad review.

  6. The book looks great--and twenty years in print is a success!!
    Have a great weekend Susanna!

  7. It's interesting how the book was panned, but manages to remain in print. I look forward to adding the books on my library list. Last week, i received a couple books from previous recommendations and enjoyed them. As the list grow, it seems it takes me through Saturday to read all the entries, but I make the rounds. I appreciate you coordinating this.

  8. Joanna - I'm glad I'm not alone in loving Little Beaver :)

    Erik - I don't know what's up with you and those links, but it doesn't seem to be here yet! Want to try again?

    Laura - so glad you enjoy PPBFs! And books are the BEST gifts, so you are a great aunt! (As in terrific, not as in really old :))

    Beth - you've probably read it - it's been around for a while. I just like the sweetness of it!

    Iza - you are so right! Let's see how many of our books are still doing well after 20 years - although for you, Itsy Bitsy Spider must be nearly there and going strong! :)

  9. Coleen - thanks, you too!

    Stacy - I'm glad you're enjoying it, and I really appreciate YOU contributing! Thanks so much for your support :)

  10. Even though there are so many "loud" books out there these days, I have a spot spot for quiet and sweet books. Little Beaver sounds like one I would like :)

  11. Kerry - I totally agree. Lots of the "loud" books are fun, but I love the quiet, sweet ones :)

  12. Sounds like a beautiful book. I like quiet and comforting books. Sounds like a nice bedtime book. You know, I don't always agree with the SLJ reviews.

  13. This is great. Love the contest. Not sure if I can work on another project, right now. But good luck to everyone!

  14. That beaver picture book sounds like it has quite the darling premise. It's amazing the way different people can see things in totally different views.

  15. Pat - it is very cute :)

    Sheri - no worries. You have until Dec. 22, and if you can't manage it, there will be other contests! Probably even in January :)

    Angela - I know! But I guess that's what makes it all work - the fact that different books appeal to different people!

  16. Hi Susanna. I forgot where to post our links for the PPbF post. Here is my link to Sailing Off to Sleep :)

  17. Saba - the link list is right at the bottom of my post, but don't worry - I'll put it in for you :) Thanks for joining in!

  18. Susanna, I'm loving the PB series you've started. I want to check out so many of those listed! Especially as I've been purchasing books for my kids for Christmas! Speaking of Christmas- nice contest! I need to tap into my inner Eminem to get some rhymes going.
    Have a great weekend!

  19. Love the cover and it does sound very cute! Can't wait to read the contest entries ho, ho, ho!

  20. What a cute little beaver! I want to grab him right off the cover and take him home! Remaining in print for 20 years definitely says something for a book. You can't always trust the reviews. You simply have to go with what you like! That is why I am so glad that more authors are providing book trailers these days. Really helps to decide on books.

  21. Tracy - I'm so glad you like it! And I can't wait to see your contest entry!!!

    Catherine - I can't wait to read them either - I hope we get some!

    Kelly - I know, isn't he so cuddly? And yes, book trailers are fun, although some of them are more helpful then others :)

  22. I haven't heard of that book, but I like your review of it. (not so much the other.) It sounds like a cute story. I will have to see if I can find it - then I'll let you know what me and the kiddo's think of it :)

  23. Leigh - I don't deny it's quiet, but I like quiet :) It's the kind of book I write, hence my most frequent editorial comment - "lovely writing, too quiet"!

  24. I love Little Beaver! I discovered it at a book sale and fell in love with the illustrations, then appreciated the story. Sweet and quiet book.

  25. I haven't seen this book, but it looks so cute. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Sophie - I'm so glad you like it too!

    Jennifer - welcome! I think you're new here? So glad you stopped by :) and glad you like the look of Little Beaver - it's a cute story!

  27. That book sounds adorable. My 7 yo might like it. She loves animals.

  28. Love this sweet story Susanna. Gosh! I seem to spend my time so involved in reading the PPBF reviews (I love them) I forget to comment, sorry!

  29. Stina - she might if she likes animals, but get it from the library first - might be a little old for this one :)

    Diane - no worries :) I love reading all the reviews too!

  30. That picture books sounds lovely. It makes me so frustrated when publishers etc make judgements about such books. Are they staffed by people who neither have children nor remember what it was like to be a child? There are too many picture books on the market today that are unsuitable for small children.

  31. Aww...that beaver made me squee with its cuteness! Poor lonely little beaver, and what an intriguing adventure he sets out on! Great recommendation!

    And cool contest. I'll help spread the word, but am not much good at making things rhyme. You see, they take too much time! ;)

  32. J.C. - Ah! But there's a loophole for people who don't want to rhyme! You can send yours in prose. We won't laugh. Much :)

  33. I have never heard of Beaver. I'll have to look for it. :)

    And what a fun competition. If I can scrounge up time, I may have to enter this one (because I LOVE Twas the Night Before Christmas).

  34. Oh, Janet - I surely hope you can scrounge up time! You've still got hope - you have all the way until Thurs. Dec. 22 at 11:59 EST to get your story written and posted. You can do it!

  35. I haven't seen this book either... I'll keep on the lookout for it too and tonight I just might try my hand at your contest :)

    Denise of Ingleside, PEI

  36. Denise - it is an older book, but a sweet one. And I wish you success with coming up with an idea for your contest entry!!! :)

  37. Susanna! I have officially posted my holiday contest entry on my blog: Do I need to do anything else? Thanks so much for doing this!

    Elizabeth Stevens Omlor

  38. thank you for the inspiration! i think Laura referred me over here from her blog =)

  39. Elizabeth - yay! I can't wait to read it! And yes, please add your link to the link list on today's post (December 19 The Holiday Contest Is Here!)

    Tara - I'm so glad you came over! Thank you! I hope you have fun, and I hope we'll get to see a contest entry from you :)

  40. Hi, first time on the blog. I write for older kids but one of my writing partners is a picture book writer so I'll have to send her a link to your blog.
    Anyway - I had composed a T'was the Night before Christmas poem just out of the blue and then two days later discovered this blog. Fate? Coincidence? You decide. Happiest of Holidays and a blessed New Year.

    T'was the week before Christmas and all through the town
    Not a smile was still showing but many a frown
    The Christmas list drawn up with love and with care
    Are only half done and there's no time to spare

    The parents all wrapped up to beat out the chill
    The parking, the lines, just to get what they will
    While the children at school are all in a chatter
    The teachers have given up on teaching their matter

    One week! One week! The kids shout with glee
    One week! One week! The parents long to flee
    The presents unwrapped and the cards are unsent
    Please don't remind us how much money we've spent

    Yet in spite of the stress and in spite of the fear
    Christmas will come, bringing those we love dear
    For Christmas' not something one holds in their hand
    It's being with loved ones as much as you can

    Don't worry if things are not quite perfect
    Looking forward to Christmas' not a thing to regret
    Too soon it is over, the laughter and cheer
    And it won't come again for a whole 'nother year

    So, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night
    Just take a deep breath, it will turn out all right.


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