Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver: Review

Thornton W. Burgess used his animal tales to educate children about the ways of animals and teach life lessons. The amusing stories of various creatures of the forest make for charming tales that are so fun and interesting that the children of yesteryear may not have even noticed that they were learning a few things.

Burgess's The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver (1917) is no different. Paddy moves to the Green Woods and sets about making a home for himself. First he must build a dam and create a pond big enough to hold his lodge. All the creatures who live in the wood are curious about their new neighbor and come to watch him work. His cousin Jerry Muskrat doesn't understand his building methods and is quite sure he's doing it all wrong. But nothing bothers Paddy--not even Ol' Mr. Coyote who stalks the banks at night hoping for a tasty beaver sandwich--and soon they all find out what kind of builder Paddy is.

Burgess's story gives accurate information about how beavers build their dams and homes; what beavers like best to eat; what their habits are; and how they are related to other woodland animals. He also sprinkles the story with little morals like

...when Paddy begins work, he sticks to it until it is finished. He says that is the only way to succeed, and you know and I know that he is right.

So now he knew just what to do and the best way of doing it. You know a great many people waste time and labor doing things the wrong way, so they have to be done over again. They forget to be sure they are right, and so they go ahead until they find they are wrong, and all their work goes for nothing.

You see, Paddy was much bigger than most of the little meadow and forest people, and they didn't know what kind of a temper he might have. It is always safest to be very distrustful of strangers...So now he was perfectly willing to go right on working and let his hidden visitors watch him until they were sure that he meant them no harm.

He also teaches children about friendship. Showing them that (in the case of Sammy Jay), the best way to have a friend is to be one.

This is a lovely vintage children's book--one that I bought primarily because it's about a beaver. I collect beavers (stuffed animals, figurines, Christmas ornaments, books...) in short because my name means "beaver meadow." Burgess has a series of these books that feature various animals and I'm quite sure they would all be just as charming. ★★★★

[Finished on 2/8/18]

1 comment:

Debbie Rodgers said...

I had no idea there was a name that meant 'meadow of beavers' - how unusual! It makes an interesting collection item.

Mine means 'the bee'. My mother's name was Bea (which doesn't mean bee) and she adopted the bee as her mascot.

Name meanings fascinate me. Thanks for sharing yours!