By Tegan Conner
When Ace and Bub wind up in a tree thanks to their new penguin friends, they make an awful discovery: a volcano is on their island. They are pretty sure it wasn’t there the day before; so, they decide to investigate. What they find are literally fish out of water (wearing a water suit of sorts), harvesting trees, polluting the island, all in the name of a tiny product called “Fish Stixs.”
Fish Stixs are the greatest toys around, but the president of the company, Walter Mackerel the Fourth, can’t tell them exactly why, just that they are an environmentally responsible company. The Flying Beaver Brothers, who know the truth about the factory, have to determine how to save the island before they lose their home forever.
THE FLYING BEAVER BROTHERS AND THE FISHY BUSINESS is actually volume 2 of The Flying Beaver Brothers series and was simultaneously published with volume 1. In this entertaining read, the reader finds action, adventure, daring plans, and talking fish. The comedic timing is spot on and exactly what I expected, making the jokes more enjoyable. For example, the ending has a great fake cliffhanger ending with a nice chuckle. The Flying Beaver Brothers are fun to read and have appeal for adults and children alike.
A simple cartoony style successfully tells the story of Ace and Bub. Maxwell Eaton III only uses three colors in this volume: black, grey, and green. The green is used to highlight the background and enhance details the reader should notice such as something dangerous or a minor, yet important detail. Overall, I felt like I was reading a cartoon show and the art reminded me of my childhood.
Publisher’s Rating: ages 6-9
IN THE CLASSROOM
While this is the second volume in the series, I feel it has the most potential in a classroom setting. THE FLYING BEAVER BROTHERS AND THE FISHY BUSINESS has an environmental story to it that could easily prompt discussion from the marketing to asking how much waste the factory generated. For example, Walter Mackerel the Fourth really lays it on thick regarding how the product and factory are environmentally friendly while the images of the story show a completely different version (which Ace and Bub notice). There is also the possibility for discussing teamwork when Ace and Bub work with Bruce (the mean beaver) and safety as the factory is missing an off switch. Lastly, it could be used for the art style as Eaton only uses three colors in the story.
Author & Illustrator: Maxwell Eaton III
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Paperback and library bound
ISBN-13 (library bound): 978-0-375-96448-0
ISBN-13 (paperback): 978-0-375-86448-3
I would highly recommend this book, along with the series, for an elementary classroom, elementary library and public library children’s collection. For kids who love comedy, fun, adventures, spies, and stories about brothers, this is a sure winner.