Bedtime For Little Bulldozer (Elise Broach)

Hello, friends! Our book for today is Bedtime For Little Bulldozer, written by Elise Broach and illustrated by Barry E. Jackson, a familiar bedtime tale with an oddball twist.

Little Bulldozer – a slightly scaled-down bulldozer with human parents – is ready for bedtime. He’s had his hugs, his bath, brushed his teeth, and is all snuggled into bed. Just one problem – he’s not in the least bit tired! He tries a few different methods of getting to sleep: checking under his bed (and accidentally knocking it over), assembling his stuffed animals for an impromptu storytime, even attempting to sneak downstairs. Each time, his parents catch him and attempt to settle him back down, but sleep eludes him still. At last, he decides to sneak down the hall to his sisters’ room; there, no longer alone, he is able to build a nest on the floor and go to sleep.

This hits some pretty tried and true beats for a “going to bed” book, and in a way that is creative for young readers and laughably familiar for parents. And while parents may question how two humans managed to have three construction vehicles as kids (Bulldozer’s sisters are an excavator and a steamroller), kids will likely just giggle at the absurdity of the situation and of Bulldozer’s antics. The soft-focus, dreamlike quality of the art makes it perfect for a bedtime book, and nicely imagines how a bulldozer might fit into human life. The length is great, and JJ enjoyed it – this one was fun. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Big Machines: The Story Of Virginia Lee Burton (Sherri Duskey Rinker)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Big Machines: The Story Of Virginia Lee Burton, written by our friend Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by John Rocco, a sweet picture book biography of the classic children’s author and illustrator that explores her life, work, and inspiration.

Virginia Lee Burton was known by the residents in her town of Folly Cove as a beautiful, charming, and talented woman. She could dance, grew beautiful flowers, and was a skilled artist and designer. “Jinnee,” would draw beautiful illustrations that made the seasons change, or brought heroes and horses and dinosaurs to life. But her very favorite thing to draw was that which her sons, Ari and Michael, loved best: the big machines. For them, she drew trains, diggers, cable cars, and snow plows, bringing them to life from nothingness and giving them names and personalities that filled her sons with delight. She told inspiring stories with her big machines about kindness, friendship, and loyalty, and she shared these stories with the children of the world, creating a collection of children’s books that are still beloved today.

This was such a warm, sweet story, and I adored it. Burton was very ahead of her time, being a female mid-century author/illustrator who insisted on complete creative control, writing books about heavy machinery that included female protagonists. It was fun learning more about her process and sons; these, in fact, make the book as much a look at Burton herself as it is a celebration of the creative arts and a mother’s love for her children, and gives the story miles of heart. The art is gorgeous, bringing Burton and her work to life with soft, fanciful illustrations that draws the reader into Jinnee’s imagination. The length is good, and JJ enjoyed it, so this one is definitely Baby Bookworm approved!