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Radical Rodents and Ecosystem Engineers

by (author) Frances Backhouse

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
May 2021
English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Grade Levels
3 to 7
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

Where to buy it

Descriptive Review

Frances Backhouse, a naturalist and environmental journalist, provides extensive information about beavers’ origins and habitats, unique physical and behavioural features, dam building, and importance to ecosystems. The beaver’s historical relationship with humans is discussed, including the impact of the fur trade, with the overhunting of beavers to near extinction. The resurgence of beaver communities is explained, along with suggestions of ways to keep beaver communities thriving. Like others in the Orca Wild series, this book features many colour photographs paired with informational text boxes and sidebars, as well as a glossary of terms highlighted in the main text. A list of print, video, and online resources is included.

128 pp., 7.5 × 9", colour photographs

Source: APC - BC Books for Schools (2021-2022)

About the author

Frances Backhouse studied biology in university and worked as a park naturalist and as a biologist before becoming an environmental journalist and author. Her six previous books include Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver and Children of the Klondike, which won the 2010 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with her partner, Mark Zuehlke, who is also a writer. Frances loves exploring the natural world both close to home and far away, especially when those explorations involve tent-camping. If there’s a beaver habitat nearby, it’s even better.

Frances Backhouse's profile page


  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Short-listed, City of Victoria Children's Book Prize
  • Nominated, Young Readers' Choice Book Awards of British Columbia (YRCABC) Red Cedar Book Awards
  • Commended, BC Books for BC Schools

Editorial Reviews

“A valuable tool to encourage middle grade readers to know beavers better and to see the desirability for our coexistence with them. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“An engaging book that will leave readers spouting facts about beavers. Students will have a new appreciation for these innovative builders and their significant impact on the landscape and ecosystems of North America.”

School Library Journal