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Naturalist Hope Ryden braved all seasons and weather over a four-year period to document the comings and goings of a pair of wild beavers (Lily and the Inspector General and their offspring). Her patience and fortitude paid off: She won acceptance and was able to move among the animals she describes as "gnomes who work magic and transform their surroundings during the dark of night."

Dr Jane Goodall wrote in a preface to this book: "Reading this book was, for me, like journeying into a fascinating new world: I am enriched."


Book of the Month Club alternate

Condensed in the Readers Digest

Translated into six foreign languages

"Readers who have enjoyed Ryden's wildlife books will find this one irresistible. Ryden, who found beavers to be intensely social and highly intelligent, discussed the animals'importance in the ecosystem as they leave one pond and build another dam elsewhere. This is captivating natural history."
Publishers Weekly

"Enchanting study of the life of the beaver by a veteran nature-writer."
Starred review by Kirkus

"The mystery of common animal behavior still stands like a jungle around us. Hope Ryden has penetrated its interior"
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times

"This intrepid naturalist takes us to the outer limits of human thinking about animal intelligence. It is a major achievement which, I predict, will become a natural history classic."
George Page, host and executive editor, Nature series PBS-TV

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