Publisher: Bits And Pieces (US)
Title: “Busy as a Beaver” by Jeffrey Severn, 750 pieces
Release date: There is no release date on the box, but this puzzle is several years old and not currently in print. You can find it it on ebay. This image came in 300 and 750 pieces, so make sure you check the piece size before buying.
Review by Jane
OUR RATING: 9/10
Box Quality: (7/10)
The box is shown above. I like the smaller, space-saving size of the box and the front is attractive. The back is plain white. The top is sturdy but the bottom is pretty flimsy. The artist name is shown on the front, but not the image name unfortunately. The image name, “Busy as a Beaver”, only appears on one box side.
Three sides are identical. They show the image, piece count, Bits and Pieces logo, and puzzle dimensions, but don’t show the puzzle name or artist name. One side has the copyright info and the name of the puzzle and artist. The year of release is not given. (I took the pictures below with 2 different cameras so the lavender color looks different but isn’t really. It’s more like the top photo color in real life.)
There is nothing inside the box except the bag of puzzle pieces.
The Image: 10/10
I adore shaped puzzles and there are far fewer of them made than there used to be. So I treasure my stash of shaped puzzles like cans of beans hoarded against the zombie apocalypse! Most of my favorite ones are from Bits and Pieces, like this one. Some shaped puzzles are basically blobs (in outline), with lots of dead space around the central image, but look at this beauty! It’s border is very precise around the figure of the beaver, birds, and trees, with only a thin white line outline. I also love this image by Jeffrey Severn. I’m a sucker for anything camping/hiking/woodsy related and this is cartoony but it definitely has that camp vibe. It’s very cute and has lots of little details and areas of interest.
Above: The completed puzzle. Click for closer view.
Puzzle Quality: 10/10
Bits and Pieces puzzle pieces are a little thinner than Ravensburger but still thick enough and I love their random, non-grid cut. As you can see in the close-up below, the pieces have all kinds of crazy shapes making it fun to assemble. And, as I’ve already mentioned, not many puzzle companies do shaped puzzle these days due to the cost of manufacturer, but look at the details on this edge with the blade of grass! The final finish is flat and relatively seamless so you can see the art clearly. I’m giving full props for quality on this one.
Shaped puzzles like these are more difficult to assemble than rectangular because you can’t start with an edge. It’s best to just assemble areas (like the bluebird) and roughly lay them out on your board until you have enough done to start attaching areas together. This puzzle was harder than I thought it would be because the colors on the pieces are very muted. For example, the blue water in the pond in the middle of the image isn’t really blue. It’s more blueish white and similar to the other whites in the puzzle. There were also a lot of browns and only a few bits of brighter colors (the outfits on the small beavers in the middle). While working it I wished the colors were a little brighter but once the image is assembled it doesn’t look dull just sort of pastel.
I deducted 2 points for the muted colors but added back 1 for the extra fun and challenge of assembling a shaped puzzle. I love the creative piece cut, the irregular border, and putting together the areas that stick out, like the bluebird, leaves, the otter’s foot, and the woodpecker along the side. It’s a nice change-up from rectangular puzzles. Just be prepared for it not to be as easy or fast as it looks!
A full thumbs-up from me. If you haven’t tried shaped puzzles, do give it a go! Jeffrey Severn has several other shaped puzzles from Bits and Pieces that are also worth looking up. See the images at the end of this review.
Where to find:
Ebay is your best bet.
Other Jeffrey Severn shaped puzzles (all published by Bits and Pieces):
Fun at Bear Pond, 300 and 750 pieces
Otter Bay, 300 and 750 pieces
Quills and Thrills, 300 and 750 pieces
Who’s Turn Is It, 300 and 750 pieces
In the Garden Shed, 300 and 750 pieces
Camping Bears, 300 and 750 pieces