This book is going to fit several niches for me. For anyone not aware, next year's national summer reading theme revolves around building - building as in construction, building as in creating, building as in making better. Animal builders will definitely be a featured subtopic, and nobody can build quite like a beaver!
Markle's text loosely follows the life of a young beaver, from three weeks old and "softball-sized" to two years old and ready to find a mate. Most of it centers around the family's dam - the protection it provides and the way each beaver helps to maintain and build it - as well as the changing seasons and some of the predators they face. You won't find complicated engineering descriptions, but that could lead to some fun at a nearby waterway, letting your kids figure out what works and what doesn't themselves.
What I found intriguing is that this is set at the biggest beaver dam in the world - visible from satellites (although that isn't mentioned until the afterward.) Generations of the same family of beavers have been adding onto it since the 1970's. This could be a great segue into the children's own families - what have they built together, be it a business, a tradition, a way of service? Or, what could they start building together now? We are right in the middle of our county fair here, and the theme is heritage - lots to think about there, whether you have a long family history to look back on, or want to start something for future generations to build on!