The Legend of the Beaver's Tail

Long ago Beaver did not look like he does now. Yes, he had two very large front teeth, but his tail was not wide and flat. It was thick with silky fur. Vain Beaver is inordinately proud of his glorious tail. When he's not bragging about his tail, Beaver spends his time grooming it, while the other woodland creatures go about their business of finding food and shelter for their families. Eventually Beaver's boasting drives away his friends and he is left on his own. But when his tail is flattened in an accident (of his own making), Beaver learns to value its new shape and seeks to make amends with his friends. Based on an Ojibwe legend.

Format List Price Your Price Qty
$16.99 $16.99
$28.99 $28.99
Interest Level Grade 2 - Grade 4
Reading Level Grade 3
Dewey 398.2089/97333
Lexile 610L
ATOS Reading Level 3.4
Guided Reading Level L
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781585368983), PDF (9781633621350), Hosted ebook (9781633621589)
Copyright 2015
Number of Pages 32
Dimensions 9 x 11
Graphics Full-color illustrations
  • 2016-2017 Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Awards Nominee
  • 2016 Storytelling World Awards, Winner, 2016

School Library Journal - The Legend of the Beaver's Tail

This retelling of an Ojibwe legend successfully illustrates a moral and explains an important natural concept, while still being an enjoyable read. The story tells how Beaver once had a fluffy, soft tail that made him so prideful he drove away his friends. When a tree lands on his tail and he has no one to help him, he frees himself but is left with a flat and hairless tail. In simple language, the message comes across clearly and the way Beaver helps his friends in the tale is also the way that beavers help their environment in reality. A helpful endnote explains that beavers are a keystone species and how their actions make an environment that is suitable for other species. For example, their dams slow the water and raise the temperature to make it suitable for fish to lay eggs. The painterly illustrations make each spread feel like a landscape, which is suitable for the tone of the text. VERDICT Whether for classroom use or as a pleasurable read-aloud, this is a good addition to picture book collections.

Author: Stephanie Shaw

Stephanie Shaw is an Oregonian native, thrilled to have plenty of weather-related reasons to stay indoors reading and writing. A former teacher and school administrator, Stephanie lives in Petaluma, California.

Illustrator: Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen

Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen was born in the Netherlands in 1951. With his seven brothers and sisters, he grew up exploring nature and his sketch pads were filled with observations from those family outings. Always drawing as a young boy, his father encouraged Gijsbert to make art his career. After high school, he attended and graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in Arnhem, Holland. Gijsbert, or "Mr. Nick" as many children affectionately call him during his school visits, immigrated to the United States in 1976 and worked as Art Director for the Michigan Natural Resources Magazine for 17 years. In 1995, he illustrated his first children's book, The Legend of Sleeping Bear, finally fullfilling his dream of illustrating children's books.Residing in Bath, Michigan, Nick and his family share their 40-acre farm with sheep, horses, dogs, cats, turkeys, rabbits, chickens, pigeons and a revolving door of orphaned and injured wild life. The family's nature journals logged 20 years of wild life rehabilitation on the farm and it is through these journals that the popular Hazel Ridge series was created. The farm, the land and the animals make great subjects for the artist to paint. Mr. Nick travels to schools and conferences to share his passion for drawing—encouraging kids to make their hobby their career.

Author/Illustrator biography
Full-color illustrations