The Lumberjack’s Beard

Duncan Beedie. Templar, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9649-8
Deforestation meets depilation in the story of an overzealous lumberjack named Big Jim Hickory, whose thoroughness leaves some local animals without homes. “After a long day of swinging, whacking, cleaving, and hacking,” Beedie (The Bear Who Stared) shows Jim returning to his cabin, a wide expanse of stumps behind him, lit by the setting sun. An irate bird shows up at his doorstep (“I had just built a new nest in my tree,” the bird complains, “and you chopped it down!”), so Jim invites the bird to take up residence in his sizable beard. A displaced porcupine and beaver soon follow, playing havoc with Jim’s daily routines of limbering-up exercises and towering pancake breakfasts. Beedie’s digital cartoons have a burliness to match his hero, and although the story is mostly played for laughs (Jim shaves his beard, and the animals move into the resulting hairball), there’s no ignoring the starkness of the decimated forest. (Jim doesn’t ignore it either, and he embarks on a replanting mission.) An easygoing storytelling style, ample visual humor, and the amusingly improbable premise make Beedle’s environmental message go down easy. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2017
Release date: 10/17/2017
Genre: Children's
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