Beaver the Tailor.
Grades 1 - 2 / Ages 6 - 7.
Beaver sews on the ribbons. It's almost done. He just has to try it on ...Beaver the Tailor, the sequel to the popular Beaver the Carpenter, was originally published in Swedish by the author/illustrator Lars Klinting. Beaver the Tailor, like its predecessor, is an engaging story, a beautifully illustrated picture book, and a simple how-to project all in one.
Beaver cuts off a piece and sews a new hem.
Now it's ready, and just the right length.
Beaver notices that his ratty old apron has got to go. So, being a practical fellow, he decides to sew himself a new one. The story follows Beaver's follies and adventures in the classic heroic tradition. At one point he pricks himself, at another he realizes he's made the apron too long - but our hero overcomes with sheer hard work and perserverance. The illustrations are a delight. Beaver's messy workroom covers a two page spread filled with the kind of detail children love - a tiny picture of a teddy bear above the cluttered sewing table, a rubber duck tucked away on top of a wall cabinet, and Beaver himself, off in a corner, digging through some drawers. The pictures also do a large part in telling the story. After Beaver pokes himself, the next illustration shows Beaver holding up the finished apron with a bandage on his finger and a teardrop in his eye. Beaver is a solidly engaging character both in words and pictures. Finally, the story is also a guide to how to sew a simple apron.
Care is taken over details such as washing and drying fabric before sewing, and basting before using the machine. Explanations are given for these procedures in an appendix narrated by Beaver and even here the writing is wonderful. Beaver admits that basting is boring and then explains why it must be done. Beaver the Tailor is perfect for a one-on-one teaching situation. The story is easy to read out loud and the pictures are evocative and expressive. Plus, not only can children learn how to sew, but there are some lessons suggested by the story that an adult can expand upon - like the value of a clean workroom, or being careful with pins and needles.
Finally, the book teaches important values - that no one is perfect, and that anyone can achieve their goals if they stick to them.
Heather Henry is a mother and seamstress. Alice Reimer is a highschool English teacher.
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Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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