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Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Can A Crane Pick Up? Written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Mike Lowery. Alfred A Knopf., Random House. 2012. $19.99 ages 2 and up

"Can a crane
pick up a
WOODEN WHEEL?
A wooden wheel
and a load
of steel.
A load of steel,
A wheel,
A tree...
And a submarine from
beneath the sea."

If you were glued to the television coverage of Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the east coast, you would have seen the dangling crane in downtown Manhattan and, if you were like me, been awed by its sheer size. Of course, the threat of it falling was what was uppermost in people's minds at the time.
It was, just the same, really quite incredible to see....and terrifying.

Little ones who love machines will be intrigued by the many things that a crane can pick up. Rebecca Kai Dotlich has created an homage to the work it can do, and to the inquisitiveness of the young. If it can do this, can it do that? You know those kids and their questions.

The cranes seem delighted with the work they do. Witness their smiling faces, no matter the scope of the job at hand. They find worthwhile work in many venues...with rail cars, at mills, on construction sites, and even at the county fair. Always busy, and apparently thrilled to be needed, the crane does the work of many and all tasks are met with enthusiastic acceptance of the work to be done.

The rhyme will help young readers join in, and the rhythm of the text will have them slapping their thighs in time to the sharing. The author did her research in a most unique way:

"Rebecca spent some time in a crane while it picked up thousands of Christmas tree lights to string atop tall buildings."

How much fun would that be...and won't her readers be impressed with the lengths she went to in order to create a new book full of information for them to share? It's a most enjoyable game to play, trying to decide what else a crane might pick up! I can just hear the questions that are sure to follow each successive reading.

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