Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Children’s book, Published: January 05, 2009 9:00 PM The First Beaver author Caroll Simpson Ever wonder where the first beaver came from?
Author and illustrator Caroll Simpson explores the First Nations explanation in a beautifully drawn children’s book, called, appropriately, The First Beaver.
The tale starts with the birth of a child, whose hair is not black like the everyone else’s, but brown instead. She is named Reedee, and as she grows older, she begins to act oddly.
All night long she disappears into the woods. One day her father follows her, worried about her. But Reedee tells him that she must follow her path alone.
The village begins to be troubled by water shortages, as the creek dries up. Meanwhile, Reedee keeps vanishing into the night. Then one day, the creek is filled again. Once again, Reedee’s father follows her into the night, where he discovers a lake where Reedee has built a damn. The girl too has changed — into a beaver.
Simpson, who splits her time between Babine Lake and Cowichan Lake, writes simply, but the text is surprisingly melodic in tone. Her voice is definitely one of a storyteller. In fact, Simpson taught First Nations art and drama to elementary school children for years before she bought a remote fishing lodge on Babine Lake.
The story itself is rather melancholy, for although the girl turns into the first beaver, she also is taken away from her family by her destiny.
Simpson’s illustrations are  fascinating, especially her First Nations’ crests, which are prominently exhibited on each page.
At the back of the book, she explains some of the mythology behind each of the characters, from the beaver to the eagle. This portion of the book is particularly interesting, perhaps even more so for the adults reading the story to their children.
Her choice of colour for the illustrations — natural tones and primary colours — also serve to create a lush, natural environment and mode in the children’s book.
The First Beaver is $24.95 and available through bookstores or online at www.heritagehouse.ca.The First Beaver is written by Caroll Simpson,

To Whom It May Concern

I am writing to offer a letter of recommendation for Caroll Hofmeister and her presentation of her book, The First Beaver. Her author and illustrator name is Caroll Simpson.

I am a retired educator, both teacher and administrator, with over 30 years of experience in schools. I recently took part in one of Caroll’s presentations in a small country school in Northern British Columbia. From the moment we walked in the door of the elementary school until we left, Caroll had the teachers, staff and students under her spell. Her positive energy is fed with the reading of her book, the tales that evolve from her large display of First Nation artifacts that she has researched and hand crafted herself and her explanation of the overall history of every element that she refers to in her book.

Every student in the school was assigned to a clan and produced their own mask, Caroll taught them the significance of the animal they represented and the legend that went with it. Because she was in charge of all the kids for the whole day, she had students return to the gym after lunch and she regrouped them into “Totems”. These were groups of multi age different clans who learned how to make their own totem and eventually their own legend. I was in total awe of Caroll’s ability to start the day with her presentation and to finish the day with students partaking in their own theatrical presentation of their group legend.

This experience was of tremendous value for the students and the staff. Caroll has a way of making every student believe that their contributions and questions are so important and worthwhile. And her modeling of publishing her story and illustrating every picture was enlightening for all. She is an excellent educator and I believe students anywhere would be enriched by any part of her presentation.

I would not hesitate for one minute to recommend Caroll Simpson’s presentation of The First Beaver to your school or district.

Connie Scott
Retired Educator

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Meet the Author Program

Houston Today
Author meet and greet for First Beaver

By Dawn Potvin - Houston Today
Published: November 04, 2009 5:00 AM

The grade three and four students of Twain Sullivan Elementary were given the opportunity this week to meet and spend the day with a local First Nations author.
Caroll Simpson, who lives at Babine Lake near Granisle, is the author and illustrator of The First Beaver.
This is her first book, which is an adaptation of a number of ‘first beaver’ tales that Simpson has gathered from Canada’s Northwest Coast.
Simpson has taught Native art and drama for many years, and is passionate about sharing stories of geography, art, and the impact of the First Nations people of North America.
“It was wonderful to able to share memories with the kids,” Simpson said. “I was able to show the difference between the Plains and the Northwest Coast First Nations people.”
The day was spent with the children breaking out into groups, and working on totem characters consisting of wolves, humans, salmon, owls, and other characters that would be developed into a story, constructed by the kids themselves.
“The best part of the day was that the kids were able to develop a special bond, and to understand what the true concept of what a ‘clan’ is and what a totem is.” Simpson said. “It was a new experience for them and they really took pride in the story that they developed and portrayed in front of their peers.”
Simpson is in the process of having her second book published, titled The First Mosquito, and she is currently in the illustrating process.