Photo of award wining book cover: At Home with the BeaverMy new nonfiction picture book, “At Home with the Beaver: The Story of a Keystone Species.” came out in August, 2019. I’ve always been fascinated by these industrious natural architects, so I was delighted when the book received a starred review from Booklist! This trailer will give you a feel for how beavers live.

I really began to understand just how crucial beavers are while working on my book “When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in Yellowstone.” Beavers are called a keystone species because they are crucial in creating an environment that provides homes for thousands of species of living things. The beaver pond environment retains water both at surface level and below, evening out the landscape to soften the changes through the season.

Photographer Michael Runtz created a great coffee table book, Dam Builders: The Natural History of Beavers and Their Ponds, in 2015, so he was a perfect choice to provide photos for this book for young readers.  I really enjoyed working with Michael and our publisher, Madeleine Dunphy, to make this the best book it could be to show young people just how important beavers are in creating healthy ecosystems.

The book has already gotten the attention of reviewers. Here are a few quotes:

Kirkus says: The well-written, economic text, presented on the recto of double-page spreads, is handsomely supported by excellent, high-quality color photos on facing pages.

Midwest Book Review says: Captivating, full-color photography of wildlife in its natural habitat distinguishes this treasure for school and public library picurebook collections.

Booklist gives our book a star: An enlightening companion book to Madeline Dunphy’s  At Home with the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species (2010) and an informative addition to library collections.

Here’s a link to the complete texts of reviews.


  1. I’m looking forward to reading this book, especially seeing the pictures. I started reading “Eager: the surprising secret life of beavers and why they matter” by Ben Goldfarb. Good book.

    Penelope LePome
    1. I think you’ll love the book. The photos are especially lovely, with lots of different plants and animals portrayed in addition to the beavers. Before working on this book, I knew beavers were very important, but now I realize how killing off almost all the beavers has resulted in so much more desert and other drylands than we would have if we had allowed beavers to stay and do their great work in conserving wetlands.

      Dorothy Patent

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