I know we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to The Lumberjack’s Beard this rule flies out the window. With a cover like this, the reader knows instantly that this is going to an amazing picturebook! And they’d be right: it is an amazing picturebook.
The story traces lumberjack Jim Hickory’s simple life. We observe his daily routine: limbering-up exercises, pancakes for breakfast (with enough maple syrup to fortify him for a day’s hard labour), chopping, cutting, stacking wood and relaxing by the fire with hot chocolate and marshmallows. Jim’s life is uncomplicated, until he hears a simple but persistent peck at his door. One ‘guest’ turns into three and before long, Jim’s life is far from simple. When he discovers that his woodcutting have made his guests – an owl, a beaver and a porcupine – homeless, he knows that he has to take action. So after doing some ‘particularly vigorous limbering-up exercises’, Jim puts his plan into action.
With many details, from the image of Jim’s tin of beardwax to the axe-pattern on his shorts hanging on the line, Duncan Beedie has created a picturebook that readers will want to read again and again, each time delighting in finding something new. The Lumberjack’s Beard is an entertaining tale about homelessness, belonging, respecting the environment and taking responsibility for your actions. But most of all, it is a heartwarming tale about friendship and family. Be warned: you might get an urge to eat pancakes!