________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 5 . . . . October 30, 1998

cover Beaver the Gardener.

Lars Klinting.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood / Douglas & McIntyre, 1998.
40 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
ISBN 0-88899-294-7.

Grades 1 - 2 / Ages 6 - 7.
Review by Alison Mews.

*** /4


Frippy waters the newly planted beans carefully.
     "Not too much," Beaver says.
     Then they put the pots in the window.

"Now we have to be patient," Beaver says. "A bean can't be rushed. It needs time before it starts to grow. We can only wait and see.."

They wait and wait.
     Frippy never knew you needed so much patience to grow beans.
It's been nearly a whole week.
     But early one morning...

"Beaver! Beaver! Come and look!"

All of Frippy's beans have come up.
     In Beaver's pot only two shoots can be seen.

image This how-to picture book gives clear, step-by-step directions to seed planting, framed in a gentle story of Beaver and his little friend Frippy. Translated from the Swedish and republished in Canada, this is the fourth in a series of instructional books about Beaver and Frippy. In this book, Beaver discovers his windowsill flower is wilted just as Frippy gets home from the grocery store and spills a bag of beans. They decide to plant the beans and, finding Uncle Samson's gardening book, follow the instructions carefully. As the text follows their progress, the illustrations provide additional instructive detail so that young readers can see how Beaver measures the depth of the planting hole using his marked stick and how Frippy, admonished by Beaver, sprinkles the soil lightly with water. The illustrations which accompany the story have softly hued backgrounds, while those providing instructions are shown on clean white pages. While this has the potential to interrupt the flow of the story, it doesn't, and the story streams seamlessly around these pages to the inevitable harvest and bean feast. Klinting's illustrations, in subdued colour washes, use a minimum of detail to express anticipation, eagerness, preoccupation and delight in his beavers' body language. The illustrations also provide amusing embellishments to maintain readers' interest. For instance, while Frippy is impatiently waiting for the beans to germinate, readers are shown Beaver planting additional beans by the side of the house. At the end of the book when Frippy discovers them fully grown, Beaver fakes innocence, and readers experience the delicious delight of a secret shared. Klinting has appended "Beaver's Gardening Advice" to the story, providing additional textual and visual information about beans. For classroom science centres and home libraries.


Alison Mews is the Librarian at the Curriculum Materials Centre in the Faculty of Education of Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's, Newfoundland.

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ISSN 1201-9364