The Beavers of Popple’s Pond

The Beavers of Popple’s Pond
. . . sketches from the life of an honorary rodent

by Patti Smith, illustrations by the author

Tucked away in a remote stream valley in Vermont, a dynasty of beavers has nearly completed the restoration of the meadows and ponds that adorned this stream in the days before the beavers of a continent were turned into top hats.

Willow, Popple, and their progeny begin the night’s work of dam repair, scent marking, tree felling … until a soft call alerts them to the arrival of the strange honorary member of their clan, this book’s author, Patti Smith.

They scramble ashore and poke eagerly about her feet as she prepares to picnic and to record the events that transpire on the shores of Popple’s Pond.

Through the seasons, and through the years, these records—transformed into interwoven vignettes—invite the reader to enter the world of the beavers and the other inhabitants of the wetlands. Meet “Terrible Jack” the lonely moose, “Henri” the civilized goose, and the myriad small creatures that populate the night forest.

The author, a native of this landscape, brings a naturalist’s eye and a compassionate voice to these stories. After three years with the beavers, readers are invited to accompany the author to other worlds where different characters await.

Keep this book wherever you have a moment for a short adventure—to follow the trail of a bear cub through the moonlight, enter the low-roofed world of the snowshoe hare, or to stand in the midst of a melee of migrating amphibians.

These stories offer respite to those wearied by the barrage of bad news, and a chance to reconnect with the nature that perseveres around us.



20111031_045352_Image_2Patti Smith is a naturalist at the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she writes and teaches about birds and bugs and birch trees, organizes salamander crossing brigades, and ponders biodiversity planning issues. She lives in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains.



“Where has she been, this shining wonderment Patti Smith? She has been befriending a colony of beavers on Poppell’s Pond and apprenticing herself to the marvelous creatures of the world. Here Smith tells her beguiling story with an uncommon wit, whimsicality, and devotion. I cannot say enough good things about this volume. It is heart-warming. It is magical, even spell-binding. It is beautifully written. This is a triumph of a book.”
—Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and The Seed Underground

“This book rests between books for animal lovers that feature animals in relationships with people in the world of people) and books for nature lovers that feature observations of animals in nature apart from people. This book includes some of each, but is perhaps most unusual in its accounts of animals in nature and in relationships with a person.”
—Joan Carey, Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center, Brattleboro, Vermont

Burlington Free Press

Pub date: February 14, 2014  |  $15.95 for print and $7.99 for e-Book
Paperback |  272 pages  |  5 x 7.5 with black and white illustrations   |  978-0-9893104-4-4
eBook  |  978-0-9893104-5-1