Badir and the Beaver

Badir and the Beaver

by Shannon Stewart
illustrated by Sabrina Gendron
Orca Book Publishers, 2019
ISBN 978-1-4598-1727-2 (sc)
$6.95, 92 pp, ages 6-8

Badir has recently arrived from Tunisia with his family. In the local urban park, he sees a huge rat, “the size of a poodle.” Or at least what he thinks is a rat. Of course, no one believes him until he discovers that the intruder is, in fact, a beaver busily making a home and foraging in the local forest. Conflict arises when members of the community begin to band together to have the beaver, who they see as an environmental threat, removed from the park. Badir, his older brother Anis, his friend Rita, and her pooch Oscar, become environmental activists to find solutions that will work for everyone. Through knowledge, understanding, action, and cooperation, community members learn that the beaver is not a destructive pest but a member of the neighbourhood.

Classroom Connections: I began reading this book aloud to my primary classes to investigate how the story could inspire discussion and thought. Well, the response blew me away. The multi-themed structure of Badir and the Beaver provided a host of ideas for discussion. In addition to the obvious theme noted by the title (beavers), the novel addresses multiculturalism, Islamic holidays and feasts surrounding Ramadan, environmental action, friendship, and the dislocation that people can feel as a result of the immigrant experience. Classroom discussions were lively and widespread across cultures, genders, and themes among the students. As the novel reaches its conclusion and both the beaver and the habitat are protected to the satisfaction of all, students will learn the value of “seeing the other point of view” and collaborative problem solving. The book is separated into short and easy-to-read chapters which make this a good resource to use as a read-aloud or silent reading book for younger students.

Review by Kent Miller.

This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Winter 2020 issue.

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