cover image Beaver Is Lost

Beaver Is Lost

Elisha Cooper, Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-85765-2

Only four words grace Cooper's (Beach) characteristically understated tale of a beaver whose log ride down the river becomes the first leg of a long urban journey—the log and beaver are soon loaded onto a truck and transported to a city lumberyard. The beaver is always depicted naturalistically, but as it stands atop the log and seems to take in the massive city unfolding before it, there's a hint of realization in its pose that matches the text on the opposite page ("Beaver is lost"). Cooper's dappled watercolors appear in rectangular panels of varying sizes that underscore the heights, depths, and distance the beaver travels. It scurries away from a frisky lumberyard dog, dives beneath an inflatable crocodile in a backyard pool, encounters fellow beavers at the zoo, scampers somewhat comically through pedestrians' legs, and darts after a mouse before eventually swimming "Home" to its dam. Cooper's artwork has a placidity that never allows the city to feel too overwhelming—or frightening. Beaver is always in control and often comes across as curious, making a potentially scary situation an adventure. Ages 3–7. (June)