Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Library Find -- Roadwork by Sally Sutton

On our weekly trips to the library, we are constantly on the lookout for books about trains, cars, trucks and all things transportation-related. Sprout is a HUGE fan of big rigs and thus any book which offers photos or drawings of heavy equipment is a guaranteed checkout for us. Since we have to read these books right away, the minute we find them, it often results in me reading aloud to a group of several toddler boys in the library picture book section. Pretty awesome!

A few weeks ago I stumbled across Roadwork by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock. This was an instant hit with Sprout. The rhythmic, rhyming text is fun to read and yet substantive, so the reader really learns something about building a road. The entire construction process is spelled out step by step, with each page illustrating another phase in road-building. Best of all, each page features sound effects, which of course any toddler is going to love yelling out loud -- "Bump! Whump! Whop!". What could be better?

I suspect the success for us is in large part due to the illustrations, which are realistic, detailed, and vividly colored. Sprout pores over each spread, pointing out small things he notices, like the hook on the crane truck, or the liftgate on the dumptruck. Apparently this was Brian Lovelock's first children's book, and the jacket copy mentions that he tried very hard to capture all the points of the road equipment as best he could. Lovelock did an amazing job setting the main characters, the diggers and loaders and dump trucks, against backgrounds that emphasize the vastness of the project. I also love the way he seamlessly integrates diversity among the workers, so much so that I didn't at first notice that there are people of all colors and both genders included. Kudos!

If your little one is mesmerized when you drive past a construction zone, Roadwork is guaranteed to be a storytime favorite. Don't miss it!

Roadwork by Sally Sutton, published by Candlewick Press
Ages 2-5
Source: Library
Sample quote: "Roll the tar. Roll the tar. / Make it firm and flat. / Squash it down and press it out. / Squelch! Spluck! Splat!"

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