Lynn: One universal truth is that little kids love trucks and diggers and they also love books about trucks and diggers. Henry, the 3-year-old member of our focus group, is OBSESSED with cars and trucks and diggers and he is always excited about a new book that features machinery of any kind. I can’t wait to share Hope Vestergaard’s Digger Dozer Dumper (Candlewick 2013) with him but I thought I’d better share it with Cindy so we could write about it first since he regards all the books I bring to read to him as HIS. (This child has a book collection rivaling ours and he remembers every single one so there’s no sneaking one away.)
Elementary School Librarians – you are going to want multiple copies of this because not only is it going to be loved by small dozer-lovers, but it has a zillion curriculum connections and classroom/story time uses. The book opens with children looking at big trucks and machinery parked together:
Are you quick? Or slow and steady?
There’s a truck for you.
16 chatty poems follow, each describing a type of machine from a street sweeper to a fire truck to a cement mixer. The poems are fun to read with a bouncy rhythm and just long enough to give readers a chance to examine all the engaging details in David Slonim’s big cheerful illustrations. The machines all have eyes and personalities and I especially love the small humorous touches like the racoons in the garbage cans or the little hard-hat wearing dog who shows up somewhere in each illustration. The final reveal shows that the machines are actually toys – a nice touch that children will love.
Cindy: Reading these poems gave me flashbacks to scenes of my daughters riding high in the neighbor’s cherry picker, or being photographed in the bucket of a backhoe so I was glad to see that a girl is featured at the controls of many of the trucks. In fact, even some of the trucks look female with their long curving eyelashes.
The forklift’s snout pokes in and out
of pallets, piles, and crates.
Her L-shaped nose inspects the rows
and tallies all the freight.
Up and down, over and out,
then up and down once more.
She stacks and packs the merchandise
in warehouse, yard, and store.
The poems provide some lively vocabulary as well as utilize basic poetic devices that young poets can model. A fun, energetic collection!
Common Core Connection
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
Read one of the poems with the class and share the illustrations, then ask the students what they have learned about the machine being described. Ask them to tell you if the information comes from the text or the illustrations or both.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
After reading the book together, ask students to describe which machine they would most like to drive and give their reasons for choosing that machine.