by Henry Cole (Author) Henry Cole (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

This classic and beautifully illustrated picture book follows a family of beavers as they build their home. A companion to Nesting by celebrated author-illustrator Henry Cole, Building will be welcomed by young naturalists.

With stunning line art and a limited color palette, this simple text follows a family of beavers as they do what beavers do best: build! Two beavers find a stream, build a dam, and raise a family in their new lodge. When the dam is threatened by storms, the beavers work hard to rebuild it. Building is what beavers do best.

Building is perfect for parents and teachers to share with young children to introduce beginning life science concepts such as life cycle, feeding habits, caring for young, and the wetlands ecosystem. An author’s note provides even more information at the end of the book.

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Starred Review
With a concise text and delicate, precise illustrations, this companion book to Cole's Nesting (2020) [follows] a pair of industrious beavers. Cole's fine gray-and-black line work depicts the beavers and their environment with graceful natural shapes defining the pond, the surrounding trees, and the animals. The use of color is minimal and all the more effective for it. A beautiful introduction to beavers as builders and creators of their environment.

Review quotes

PRAISE FOR NESTING: "Robin's-egg blue highlights this account of an American robin family's year . . . [the] bright color contrast[s] arrestingly with [the] black-and-white surroundings. Cole varies the design from vignettes and panels to full- and double-page spreads. The relatively simple text, expressed in short sentences, is very accessible, and the natural history . . . is accurate. Aimed at a younger audience . . . this conveys essential information. Beautiful, informative, and appropriate to the audience." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Cole's fine-line drawings—black-and-white, with occasional washes of robin's-egg blue—use short, agitated lines and layered hatching to richly render the birds' world." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Scenes of incredible detail and beauty. Though considered fiction, everything in this story is true to nature, which is unsurprising considering Cole's past as a science teacher. He uses limited but smoothly written text to describe a year in these robins' lives. The arresting artwork is large enough to share in a group setting, but youngsters will also want to pore over its many details." — Booklist (starred review)

"Cole's nature sketches reveal a keen eye and hand. A stellar offering. Nature lovers of all ages will enjoy this beautiful, informative book." — School Library Journal (starred review)

"Cole illustrates a pair of robins, employing gentle black-and-white crosshatching and one dramatic pop of color: the signature deep robins'-egg blue of the eggs. Uncomplicated language describes the nesting process, while illustrations both mirror and extend the text. [A] solidly scientific account." — Horn Book Magazine

Henry Cole
HENRY COLE was an adored elementary-school science teacher for sixteen years. He has since illustrated over 150 popular books (some of which he has also authored), including his wordless Forever Home, award-winning picture book Unspoken, which was named an ALA Notable Children's Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book, and his book One Little Bag, which was also named an ALA Notable Book, and received three starred reviews. He lives in Florida. To find out more about Henry, go to
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date
June 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JNF003140 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Mammals
JNF051100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Environmental Science & Ecosystems
JNF013090 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Concepts | Seasons
JNF027000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | House & Home
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Habits and behavior
Pond ecology

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