Booklist starred (May 1, 2015 (Vol. 111, No. 17))
Grades K-2. A gentle storyteller’s voice, in a soothing cadence, introduces the details of this simple, moving tale. Buckley, a young beaver, lives with his mama in a “small wooden house by the sea.” He clearly loves his mother. He also loves finding beach treasures and crafting boats from driftwood. Watercolor illustrations in warm tones range from expansive two-page spreads to full page and more intimate vignettes, capturing the quiet setting, the bond between the two, and their activities. Only one thing is missing: Papa. When Buckley makes a boat of which he is especially proud, he decides to set it adrift with a note to Papa. If it doesn’t return to shore, Buckley will know that Papa has received it. Mama agrees; she misses Papa, too. Buckley builds many beautiful boats for Papa. It is only at the end of the year that Buckley makes a discovery: Mama has all the boats. The pacing is exquisite as Buckley absorbs and reacts to this information, recognizing and expressing love in return. These two will persevere in the tender journey of life. Reassuring, consoling, and lovely.