The Lumberjack’s Beard by Duncan Beedie (review)
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Reviewed by
Beedie, Duncan The Lumberjack’s Beard; written and illus. by Duncan Beedie. Templar/Candlewick, 2017 [34p]
ISBN 978-0-7636-9649-8 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R 3-7 yrs

Big Jim Hickory, the big-shouldered, -bellied, -bearded lumberjack, is just doing his bit for the lumber industry, but every day another forest creature shows up at his door, complaining of displacement. A bird shrieks he’s lost his new nest in a tree Jim chopped down; a porcupine nags about the pine needles and leaves that Jim burned in a bonfire; and a beaver laments the dam that was destroyed by Jim floating logs down the river to the mill. Jim’s a reasonable, even hospitable guy, and he invites each arrival to make a home in his commodious beard. Any child who’s heard or read “The Mitten” will testify there are only so many critters you can pack into one container, and Jim is eventually forced to shave off his beard and put the communal nest outside so he can once again eat his breakfast in peace. Things are still not quite right, though, and when Jim looks out his window and sees his arboreal landscape is gone, he realizes there are more jobs to do—replant the trees, regrow his beard, and hang out with his new friends watching the saplings turn into a new forest. This environmental parable draws its success from showing with a large helping of humor rather than lecturing with a moral. Jim is a gentle giant perched on comically storklike legs, and the animals that arrive with granny cart and suitcase and pass the time playing cards, tanning in the sun, and listening to an iPod keep things light. There’s no note on the closing visual reference to Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees, but enterprising adults might want to do a quick online search and share the results with the young audience. [End Page 109]

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