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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Amazing Pop-Up Big Machines, by Robert Crowther. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2010. $21.00 ages 3 and up

"If there's a pile of dirt or rock to be moved, then a bulldozer is just the machine to do it. With a powerful engine, caterpillar tracks, and a big metal place, called a blade, at the front for pushing, a bulldozer is designed for earth moving."

Joey's coming to get new books tonight and I know that this one will be on the top of the pile. It's a pop-up book and who doesn't love them? It's got working pieces, lift the flaps, and pockets that contain tools and materials to get these amazing machines to work.

I am astounded by publishers who are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that books such as this are available for young children with a keen interest in their subject. Robert Crowther is masterful at the art of paper engineering. One of Bret's first baby gifts was The Most Amazing Hide-and-Seek Alphabet Book (Viking Kestrel, 1978) and we could not fathom the talent of such an artist. We still have the book, which is testament to the delight taken in sharing it and the knowledge that 'paper is paper and we must be careful with it'.

This invitation to visit a construction site and actually see how each of the big machines performs is almost TOO much. The anticipation is palpable and the awe with which young readers will look at each of its pages will bring delight to those who share it. Being able to actually see how these monsters function and what their purpose is during their workday lives adds knowledge that will be retained because of the active participation.

 Each of the machines -bulldozer, tractor, forklift, dump truck, and crane- comes with a 'fact file' that offers up even more information, and accompanies a flip file on the left hand side of the double page spreads that add concise descriptions of other road building, farm, factory, quarry and building machines.

This is not a book for the library, but for careful hands and personal perusal. It is sturdy and will afford hours of fun for interested machine aficionados.

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