Do all kids go through a construction phase?
Our youngest daughter is currently obsessed with big machines. We’ll be driving along and she’ll spot a construction site as quick as our oldest will spot a pair of golden arches. “DIG-GER!” After completing our local library’s summer reading program, each girl got to pick out a book to keep. There was a wide selection. There were books about animals, books with popular cartoon characters, and brightly colored board books of first words. Little One didn’t hesitate; she made a beeline for a green board book of “Trucks.” So needless to say I’ve been learning a lot about construction equipment. I can now tell a bulldozer from a front-end loader, a skid steer from a backhoe, and a grapple from a bucket. My daughter smiles, and says in her halting toddler way: “I – like – digger.”
After awhile though, word books — those with pictures and single words — get a bit stale. So on that same library visit we checked out a charming picture book that puts a story to a machine.
“Dig!” is a wonderfully illustrated book about Mr. Rally, who drives a big yellow backhoe for hire. He and his dog, Lightning, move through five jobs, from a “bridge on the ridge” to a “zoo, all brand-new.”
This book gets the kids to interact with a repeating question, “Is all the digging done?” (“NO!” — a toddler’s favorite word.) And the book’s repeating refrain has a great beat to it: “Dig up rock and dig up clay! Dig up dirt and dig all day!”
Even better for the sing-song rhythm of heavy machinery is “Demolition” by a pair of New Zealanders whose day jobs are playwright and geophysicist (so you know this is going to be good!).
This onomatopoetic tome has a good cadence. Each verse ends in three words, with the text size giving you an indication of building excitement: “Bang! CLANK! CRACK!” A good way to demonstrate crescendo. (In the case of a construction site, and exclamation points, this would perhaps be from mezzoforte (loud) to fortissimo (really loud)? In any case, the louder the better for a toddler, right?)
What I especially appreciate about this book, though, is the new machinery we got to learn about. We all know about the backhoe (yawn). But what about a rotational hydraulic shear (uh-huh)? I feel like an expert just saying it out loud. Now, to get the 2-year-old to say it…
- posted by Melissa, who obligingly made her daughter a construction-site chocolate cake for her second birthday. Little One can now say “front-end loader.”