________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 29. . . .April 1, 2016


The Legend of the Beaverís Tail.

Stephanie Shaw. Illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen.
Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press (Distributed in Canada by Saunders Books), 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.99.
ISBN 978-1-58536-898-3.

Subject Headings:
Ojibwa Indians-Folklore.
Pride and vanity-Folklore.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Alison Schroeder.

**** /4


Autumn turned to a shivery winter. Beaver lumbered through the woods and then began to have a good chew on the trunk of a large tree. Every now and then he would stop to run in circles around the trunk. In this way he could chase his tail and give it yet another admiring look.


The Legend of the Beaverís Tail is a traditional Ojibwa legend that tells the story of a proud beaver who shows off his fluffy tail to all of his different animal friends. He is boastful and ends up losing his friends in the process. One day when Beaver is chewing on the trunk of a tree, it accidentally falls and lands on his tail. With no friends to help him, he must free himself, but in the struggle he loses all of the fur from his tail that he was so proud of. After Beaver has mourned the loss of his glorious tail, he mourns the loss of his friends. As winter turns to spring, Beaver apologizes to his friends and learns that a flat tail is very useful for a beaver, and he realizes that his jobs, like building a dam, help all the other animals around him.

     This book is well-written, and using animals to illustrate the lesson makes it engaging for children. There are two pages at the back of the book which outline information about beavers as a species, as well as the origins of the legend from the oral storytelling tradition of the Ojibwa people. Having that information would be useful in facilitating a conversation with an older child about storytelling traditions and the lesson of being humble and helpful to others rather than competitive and proud. The Legend of the Beaverís Tail would make a great addition to a school library or personal collection.

     The illustrations in this story are bright and beautiful. They appear to be acrylic or oil paint and are very colourful and realistic. The story begins in summer but quickly moves into fall and winter when Beaver has lost his friends and is feeling lonely. Spring then comes when Beaver apologizes and makes amends with all the animal friends he lost. The vivid images depict a deer, a blue jay, a fish and a beaver in addition to all of the forest foliage.

Highly Recommended.

Alison Schroeder has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba and is a lover of childrenís books.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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