The Skydiving Beavers: A True Tale


The Skydiving Beavers: A True Tale by Susan Wood and illustrated by Gysbert van Frankenhuysen  from Sleeping Bear Press 978-1585369942   32 pages  April 15, 2017  Ages 6-9

So.... perhaps you've given up anything that brings you the news these days...maybe you've taken up contemplating your navel instead.  I, too, was considering a complete break with the outside world until the UPS guy came and brought me a picture book filled with resuscitatory qualities.  I felt like I was Pandora and I had gone back to the box one more time and found hope... yes, hope.  Hallelujah!

Okay, let's return for a moment to yesteryear.  It's 1948, the war is over and we are turning our eye to the fair state of Idaho.  Specifically we are admiring the tall trees, inhaling the crisp mountain air and smiling back at the sparkling blue lake of McCall, Idaho.  Eden indeed ...were it not for a large problem.

Now, McCall is the kind of place you would want to escape to and in 1948 people were deciding to do just that.  They built houses around the lake, roads to get to the houses and they were ready to spend their days water skiing and canoeing and basically immersing themselves in the wonder of nature.

This is where the plot thickens.  You see, when the people moved into McCall they were "muscling in" on someone else's territory.  Someone had been living in McCall for decades and actually centuries.  Those someones were beavers.  Yes, beavers.

The people and the beavers all wanted to live in the same spot and things just weren't going that well for either group.  This was a problem.

A really creative guy named Elmo Heter who worked for Idaho State Fish and Game had an idea of how to solve this problem.  He knew that the Chamberlain Basin area of Idaho would be the perfect new home for a crowd of beavers.  He knew beavers couldn't make the trip over the land and he knew he had a pile of old parachutes hanging around.  Since there were no roads into the Chamberlain Basin... see where I'm going with this... yes, the beavers could parachute into the Chamberlain Basin.

Well, with all great ideas you have to try them out and Elmo did.  He took one old beaver, named him Geronimo... and did a trial run.

Then, Elmo and Geronimo did some more trial runs.

You have to see this to believe it.  This is true story about these orange-toothed critters and how they became air pioneers.

This is so utterly creative and reassuring that somewhere in the world people like Elmo are working away at their jobs and solving problems and beavers are thriving in the Frank Church Wilderness area of Idaho.  You just can't make this stuff up.

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