Excuse the interruption in the Christmas picture books countdown, but I have SO MANY BOOKS to share and I just can’t seem to fit them all in. As I was thinking about some that I’m still bummed I haven’t featured yet, I realized that I should at least share a few that I consider excellent gifts! So pull out those gift lists and let me help with some ideas.
First up, a book we have given several times and I recommend all the time. A brilliant twist on the classic song, add this one to your gift-giving list: Old MacDonald Had A Truck by Steve Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban, 2016.
This is one of those books that is super fun to read, but you can also sing it if you are so inclined (and the child being read to does not object. Three year olds – they can be so picky sometimes!). The story starts out familiar
“Old MacDonald had a Farm
And on that farm he had an…”
And now the fun begins. Every item is a piece of construction equipment!
We’re talking about Excavators and Front Loaders, Bulldozers and Motor Graders, Dump Trucks and Steamrollers. And every machine has an awesome sound to accompany.
There are “Dig Digs” and “Scoop Scoops” and “Dump Thumps” and “Squish Smashes.” Some more complicated than others to repeat just right and in rhythm.
Now, this concept is fun all by itself, but there is so much more going on in this story. We have at least 3 plot lines going on. First off, Old MacDonald showing off his construction machinery. But there’s also this brilliant every other page storyline happening with Old Mac’s wife. This lady seems to be quite the mechanic and she is working on the machine of the title, yep, Old MacDonald’s truck. The intro pages to the next machine show her putting in a new engine, touching up the paint, and filling up the tank. Also a fun storyline, but there’s more.
So Old MacDonald has all these machines he wants you to know about, but he and the animals aren’t just working on the farm. There’s a third plot, what could be considered the most important climax to the whole book that readers will pick up on as you read it (again and again). They are building something! And it connects to that second plot with the adorable overall-wearing wife and truck.
This book is so fantastically brilliant. My girls adore it and I love to read it. The build-up is excellent and the multiple plot-lines all building off of and into each other are a perfect mix. The art is bright and humorous, a great fit to carry and add to the story. Since the text stays true to the structure of the song, it is immensely important that the illustrations fill in all the details. Readers have to not only listen, but pay attention. It is outrageously fun. I also adore the addition of the wife and that she is a mechanic. This book could wrongfully be pegged as a “boys’ book” simply because it deals with construction and trucks (a stupid marketing argument and soap box discussion for another day). Nothing about this book is gender stereotyped in any way and that adds to its perfection. Everybody loves watching things be built. Anyone can be a mechanic. And who doesn’t love animals helping their beloved farmers and being downright hysterical in their hard hats, jackhammering, and wearing foam fingers!
I hope you’ll get this book for someone, and especially yourself. It came out early last year and we have yet to tire of it. It is on the highly-requested list and a go-to when I’m looking for a can’t lose gift idea.
And now back to Christmas books!