Amy MacDonald is a freelance writer and journalist, and also teaches in schools around the world. She lives in Maine, USA.
PreS-Gr 1-- A cumulative, didactic tale. Hearing his own cry, ``I need a friend,'' called back from across the pond, Little Beaver sets out to find the creature who shares his problem. As he journeys to find out who was crying, he is joined by an otter, a duck, and a turtle, all of whom also want companionship. Ultimately, they meet a wise old beaver who explains about Echo, and they make Echo sound happy when they discover that they are friends. Little Beaver is a fat, furry little fellow who is apparently intended to look natural, although he has the demeanor of a greeting card creature. This anthropomorphic approach is neither realistic nor convincing in presenting a human dilemma enacted by animals. The lovely soft watercolor scenes bespeak the British artist's experience as a natural-history illustrator. The issue concerning Echo is somewhat confusing, however, and the flat, precious conclusion about friendship is clearly stated but predictable. --Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
``I'm lonely,'' Little Beaver cries, ``I need a friend.'' When a voice answers from across the pond, ``I'm lonely. I need a friend,'' Little Beaver sets off to find this kindred spirit. Along the way, he's joined by a duck, an otter and a turtle, who each claim, ``I do need a friend, but it wasn't me who was crying.'' At the end of their journey the creatures meet a wise old beaver, who explains the mystery voice to them: ``No matter where you are, the Echo is always across the pond from you. . . . When you are sad, the Echo is sad. When you are happy, the Echo is happy too.'' Little Beaver calls out in glee over his newfound friends, and his joy echoes across the water. This sweet, gentle tale is beautifully complemented by Fox-Davies's softly glowing landscapes and winsome furry characters--reminiscent of Garth Williams's. Little Beaver and the Echo is perfect for little ones at quiet-time or bedtime. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)