April 7 – International Beaver Day

The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Crazy Critter Race by Maxwell Eaton III

About the Holiday

Beavers are pretty amazing creatures. With their prominent teeth these largest members of the rodent family cut down large trees. They use the bark, buds, and small twigs for food then gnaw the trunk and branches into smaller parts and build dams that are just about as strong as anything people can construct. These dams can help prevent floods, clean the water supply, and restore wetlands. The largest beaver dam is in Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada.

Beaver Day is celebrated to bring awareness to the declining beaver population and to promote their protection.

The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Crazy Critter Race

By Maxwell Eaton III

 

The flying Beaver brothers are back in a vine-popping, lasso-swirling adventure! Bub is reading Penguin Giant to Bob and Bob when Ace comes home with an intriguing ad for The Crazy Critter Race. The winner will receive—not pancakes as the penguins hope—but a free houseboat. The house Bob and Bob built for the Beaver brothers is a little less than desirable, so Ace and Bub swim over to Critter Houseboat Sales and Service to sign up.

There they meet the yeehawin’ cowboy hat-wearin’ crazy critter who has organized this unusual event. They also encounter the rope-snapping Raccoon sisters, and the competition is on! Crazy Critter explains the rules of the race: It seems the islands’ trees have been destroyed by ornery baboons, so the object of the race is to replant trees from a jar of seeds Crazy Critter gives them. The first team to reach the top of each mountain must plant one seed. The team who completes the race and rings the bell at the finish line will win a houseboat.

The racers take off, but the Beaver brothers and Raccoon sisters soon leave the rest of the competition in their wake. They both run to the top of the first mountain and plant their seeds. With a Rugga Rugga and a loud Brorg! two enormous vines break the earth and thunder toward the sky! In all the mayhem Ace and Bub’s jar of seeds opens and spills its contents on the beach.

In the blink of an eye, vines are shooting out of the ground and grabbing everything in sight. In fact, “Everything Vine” is the name of this Kudzu cousin because it covers everything. Ace and Bub go to work with their gnawing teeth, but even they are no match for the vine. Unaware of the disastrous consequences, the Beaver sisters use some pretty impressive moves to get ahead even as they continue planting seeds.

Now vines are erupting willy-nilly, threatening every land mass and even Beaver Island. Crazy Critter denies all knowledge of the fatal seeds, but has a solution of his own—if the islands are uninhabitable, he will sell houseboats to all the ex-habitants. Crazy Critter finally fesses up to his evil plan, but what can anyone do now? The vines are taking over!

The Beaver brothers look at the Raccoon sisters and the Raccoon sisters look at the Beaver brothers. They know that by working together they can save the islands. The Raccoon sisters use their awesome roping skills to gather the vines while the Beaver brothers chomp them in half, destroying them. Beaver Island is saved!

But who wins the houseboat? Let’s just say Crazy Critter isn’t so crazy after all.

This graphic novel-style book—the 6th in the series—will appeal to reluctant readers as  well as kids who enjoy a wild, humorous adventure. The quick pace of the story, teamed with action-packed drawings, will keep fans of the series cheering for their familiar friends in this race that just doesn’t seem right. Kids will laugh out loud at the funny asides and sound effects. A light-hearted lesson on competition and cooperation ties the story together in a satisfying finish.

Ages 6 – 9

Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015 | ISBN 978-0385754699

International Beaver Day Activity

CPB - Beaver craft picture (2)

Make a Spool Beaver

 

Do you have a gnawing need to have a beaver of your own? Make one with this Spool Beaver craft!

Supplies

  • Printable Ears and Nose Template
  • 2-inch wooden spool, available at craft stores
  • 1 6-inch long x ¾ inch wide craft stick
  • Small piece of foam board
  • Brown “chunky” yarn
  • Brown felt, small piece for ears and tail
  • Black felt, small piece for nose
  • Acorn top for hat (optional)
  • Brown craft paint
  • Black craft paint
  • Black marker
  • Strong glue
  • Paint brush
  • Scissors

CPB - Beaver craft picture with tail

Directions

  1. Print the Ears and Nose template
  2. Paint the spool with the brown paint, let dry
  3. Cut the ears from the brown felt
  4. Cut the nose from the black felt
  5. Cut a piece from the end of the craft stick
  6. Paint the craft stick brown or black, let dry
  7. Cut two small pieces from the foam board, ½-inch long x 3/8 inch wide
  8. When the spool is dry, glue the ears to the spool, leaving the ears sticking up over the rim of the spool
  9. Glue one end of the yarn to the spool
  10. Holding the spool horizontally, wind the rest of the yarn around the spool back and forth from front to back. Glue the end to the body of yarn. This will be the bottom of the beaver.
  11. Glue the nose over the hole in the spool
  12. Glue the teeth below the nose
  13. Glue the flat edge of the craft stick to the back of the spool to make the tail

 

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