I almost didn’t write this review because I know I’ve seen so many good things about this sweet picture book on the internet that I figured everyone else has seen those reviews, too, and has probably already added this book to her family’s collection. However, since this blog is more for my remembrance than it is to promote the books I like, I’m going to list some of the things the DLM and I love about Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker. We’ve only been reading it for about a week and a half now, so I’m sure this list will probably grow as it goes from being merely familiar to ingrained forever in my brain. 🙂
- It’s the perfect naptime or bedtime story. Like Goodnight Moon and, I’m sure, a host of other bedtime stories, this story is literally about going to bed. The fun twist here, though, is that it’s heavy equipment that’s getting all cozied up for a night of slumber. I usually read this book to the DLM by the faint light of his heavily shaded window at naptime and by the light of the hallway light outside his bedroom at night. It’s a good book to read by dim light.
- This story uses the real names for the equipment and real terminology for their parts: Crane Truck raises a beam with his boom; Cement Mixer pulls up his chute and slows his drum; Dump Truck lowers his bed and locks his gate; Bulldozer pushes with his blade and stops his track; Excavator twirls on his track and lets his scoop rest on the ground. In other words, it’s not overly simplified, so I think it will be a favorite for a long, long time.
- The construction equipment are all male (yes, they are–I double checked) and they are all given rough-and-tumble personalities, yet the book is still sweet and tender. They are just like my little boy toddler! 🙂 Here’s a sampling of the verses from a couple of pages toward the end of the story that captures the the tough-but-sweet essence moms of little men are familiar with :
These big, big trucks, so tough and loud,
They work so hard, so rough, and proud.
Tomorrow is another day,
Another chance to work and play.
Turn off your engines, stop your tracks,
Relax your wheels, your stacks, and backs.
No more huffing and puffing, team:
It’s time to rest your heads and dream.
- Tom Lichtenheld‘s illustrations are just about as perfect as illustrations can be. They capture perfectly the spirit of the story. The DLM’s favorite page is of Excavator pushing a mound of boulders with his blade. We always pause on this page so my little man can point to and name the rocks. (They’re all named Rock. 😉 ) One of my favorite details is the setting sun which is replaced by a sleeping moon. I love that Excavator’s scoop is cradling the moon on the cover and that Crane Truck helps raise the sun on the endpapers. The sunset pages are completely awash with a pinkish-orange glow and the nighttime pages are shadowy and grainy and star-spangled, with the vastness of the nighttime sky a perfect backdrop for the softly snoring Dump Truck and teddy bear-clasping Crane Truck. Sweet perfection!
I’m adding this one to my long-neglected Best Picture Books list. If you have a toddler or preschooler, especially a boy, don’t miss this one. If you don’t have a toddler or preschooler but are in the market for a baby gift, consider this one. Highly, Highly Recommended. (Chronicle, 2011)