If you are a regular reader you may have noticed that we have been doing more construction themed activities lately and you are only seeing a fraction of what we have been doing at home. My daughter has a serious fondness for bulldozers and just like when her brother fell in love with garbage trucks one of our first things to do is find books with bulldozers and read as much as we can! Below are our favorite books about construction vehicles . Many of these reviews are a few years old and many have been updated to include what my daughter thinks about them as well.
Machines at Work by Byron Barton is a bold and bright book that is perfect for toddlers who are obsessed with construction vehicles. The text is brief but effective. My son loved this book as an infant and at 2 still enjoys reading it, aw well as counting the workers and trucks on each page.
My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers (My Big Book Of… (Chronicle Books) Have you ever walked by construction and seen your child’s face fill with awe? Bulldozers. Backhoes. Graders. Construction vehicles are memorizing to kids, boys and girls. My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers is a sturdy board book with full color photos of some of those big Caterpillar vehicles. Each spread focuses on one vehicle, offers its name in big bold letters with a full image along with a page that focuses on key aspects of the vehicle. You’ll find a close-up of the wheel or the boom ripper. Kids will love testing their knowledge on the vehicle names and the different vehicle parts. I liked that some of the vehicles were ones that I had never heard of (though perhaps construction junkie kids might know them already). Review by Carrie Anne
Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia was an instant classic in our house. My son loves vehicles and this book was the perfect length with the right amount of text and awesome almost Eric Carle like illustrations. Usually, books about vehicles just name the trucks and diggers but this book shows children not only what they do but how they can work together to make something. Great book for the digger and backhoe obsessed!
Road Builders by B.G. Hennessy was a birthday gift for my son’s 4th birthday and he was not interested at first. Maybe because of the plethora of lego that was taking over our house – however it has since become such a favorite he recently “read” it to my sister’s dog. It’s a story all about how a road is built, explaining what the crew does, and how each type of construction vehicle has a different role in building a road. I like that it explains the process from start to finish, in just the right level of detail for preschoolers. I also like that there is a female crew member and her participation is seamless. Edited for 2013 – my daughter has become very attached to this book and always wants to know who each road worker is on each page. The fact that there is a female worker has not been lost on her at all.
Barney Backhoe and the Big City Dig by Susan Knopf is a perfect book for your digger obsessed child, but even if your child can’t spot a backhoe from a mile away this book is a cute story about helping people, and the illustrations are filled with things that are found in the city and can spark great discussions with your child. Both of my kids have attached to this story and it spent about 6 months in the car as the favorite book for car rides.
Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo is one of the few books we have that we have bought twice. Our first copy was so well-loved that we knew when it could not be read anymore that it would be immediately replaced. This book is embedded in my brain ( and heart) because both my children have gone through a phase where it’s their absolute favorite. The book takes readers through different vehicles like fire trucks, rescue helicopters, and of course bulldozers. The text is repetitive and will get stuck in your head for days but it’s OK because your kids will recite it along with you.
The Truck Book by Harry McNaught is another favorite in our house, mostly because it has a forklift in it. There isn’t much of a story, instead it’s a collection of labeled illustrations. If your child is like mine and loves, no obsesses over things that move this is a fantastic book. I admit I get bored reading it even if my son doesn’t. To fight that boredom we play I spy and both of us are happy. Edited for 2013 – This review still stands just replace forklift with bulldozer and son to daughter.
Dazzling Diggers (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton is part of the Amazing Machines series of books that are favorites of both my kids. Now my son reads them to my daughter and yes my heart bursts when he reads to her and it makes me completely forget when he tackles her. The book themselves are little gems. This one talks about diggers and bulldozers with absolutely fantastic rhymes. What amazes me about this book is that your child will actually come away having learned something substantial about the vehicles in it at the same time as loving the brilliant rhyming text. Must read for construction vehicle fans.
Construction Countdown by K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks, and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here! <–That was written in 2008 and now over 2 years later my son still likes this book and has grown with it, now doing the counting all by himself.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker will have to be renewed from the library while I wait for my copy to come from Amazon. This book is starting to get pretty popular and rightfully so, it’s a lovely book. In it busy little construction vehicles wind down for the night and fall asleep. I never thought I would say an excavator was cute but the one in the book is. It’s a wonderful bedtime book and your child will enjoy winding down with the sleepy bulldozer and his friends. My daughter completely adores this book.
Good Morning, Digger by Anne Rockwell is not going to be put onto my must-buy list even though the vast majority of her books are. It just seemed flat and boring. The story follows a vacant lot and the digger that comes it to start construction on what will transform into a community center. There really weren’t any characters and the text seemed unenthusiastic, there was nothing to latch on to and make a real connection with. To make matters worse I think I have to pay a late fee at my library on this one. Edited for 2010 – we recently read this book at the library and my son as I predicted loves it. I still stand by my review, and as much as I adore this author I am not a huge fan of this book. Edited for 2013 – My daughter loved it when we sat in the corner of the library and read it. Just goes to show that even at a young age it’s important to let kids have some autonomy when it comes to book choice.
I Love Trucks! by Philemon Sturges is about all sorts of trucks from firetrucks, bulldozers, ice cream trucks, and of course garbage trucks! Each page has simple text that gives a brief description of the main action each truck does like roll, dump, dig, etc. My son eats this book up even though he enjoys much longer books as well. The illustrations by Shari Halpern ( who also illustrated the previous books) are bright bold and have a cartoon-like quality that grabs young children’s attention.
Diggers (Usborne Touchy Feely) by Fiona Watt was given to me before I even had kids and it’s been read countless times to both kids. It’s great for toddlers who need to keep their hands exploring while mom or dad reads. It’s a sturdy book with a simple text that matches the great active illustrations.
I have two machine/digger/truck lovers in my house as well, and there is a book not on your list that they love. Monster Trucks! by Mark Todd. The pictures are fun for kids and the rhyming text is really engaging. The boys (almost 2 and almost 4) repeat the part about 18-wheel trucks whenever they see one. The last page also contains a few facts about all of the different trucks. We were able to find a used copy from amazon after checking it from the library repeatedly. I also have had the same experience with Good Morning Digger. I dislike it, my kids have checked it out several times and the older one has recited the book to us.
Allison McDonald says
Thanks for the additional n=book rec! I am so glad it’s not just me who thinks that about Good Morning Digger. I even went with brand new eyes to read it this last time. I don’t mind reading books I am not crazy about as long as my kids love them.
If you’re interested in a good non-fiction construction book for little guys. My 3 year old LOVES Construction ABCs (I think that’s the title). It has all sorts of vehicles literally from A-Z and then some. I personally find it mind numbing but he loves it. It’s not cutesy in any way but it is a great ABC book if you are doing a construction themed learning unit or your kiddo likes construction vehicles.
Awesome list! My digger and dump truck loving almost 2 year old son thanks you! Off to see if our library caries some of these. We did find a few at our library last week that aren’t on your list:
-Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres…awesome as mommy and daddy diggers, garbage trucks and car carriers tuck their little ones in for the night.
-B is for Bulldozer by June Sorbel…no review as we are waiting for someone to return it 🙂
-Construction Kitties by Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges…is cute since my son also likes kittens
-Monsters on Machines by Deb Lund…not quite sure on this one as my son isn’t really interested in the monsters so we haven’t read it 🙂