- Megan Bingham
Big Jim Hickory is a lumberjack.
Every day, he awakes next to a forest, in a little log cabin, and he completes his morning routine: Limbering-up exercises—it's very important to limber up if you're a lumberjack. Jim also has a hearty breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup before he sets out with his trusty ax and heads into the forest.
CHOP-CHOPPETY-CHOP! Jim's ax echoes at every tree he cuts.
But, one evening after Jim returns to his cabin, he hears a PECK-PECKITY-PECK on his front door. There stands a very small, but very angry, bird. "I have just built a new nest in my tree," he explains, "and you chopped it down!" Feeling guilty, Jim offers the bird a home inside his massive lumberjack beard. "Very well then!" the bird says, and in he flies.
As The Lumberjack's Beard continues, Big Jim continues to do his job of tree-felling . . . but soon, Jim begins to run into animals that are losing their homes thanks to his cutting, burning, and floating of the forest around him. And where does he offer they make their new home? His big beard, of course. But Jim begins to feel a little too overcrowded . . . what can he do to help the animals find better homes?
Duncan Beedie's The Lumberjack's Beard overall is a cute picture book for the little ones, but it also sends a very important message about deforestation. Many of the world’s endangered animals live in forests, and the world relies on the multiple benefits forests offer, such as food, fresh water, clothing, traditional medicine, and even shelter. If we cut down all the trees, where will the animals live? Not all lumberjacks have big beards like Jim does.
To read more about the harmful effects of deforestation and what you can do to help stop it, visit the World Wildlife Federation's (WWF) website. Another good book to explain deforestation to the little ones is The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. Check out the booklist Picture Books on Environmentalism for more titles like The Lumberjack's Beard.