Bulldozers (Big Machines at Work) by Jean Eick -- A Children's Construction Vehicle Book Review: Truck Books for Kids

Photograph is in the public domain
Photograph is in the public domain

Lackluster text, but kids who love bulldozers will love the pictures

3 stars for Bulldozers (Big Machines at Work), by Jean Eick
Bulldozers (Machines at Work; Big Machines)
Bulldozers (Machines at Work; Big Machines)

The reviewed book. Honestly, there's not a lot to get overly excited about in this book, but young kids who like big machines are still likely to take an interest.

 

So many small children are fascinated by heavy machinery. While there may not be any actual studies on the percentage of children aged 3-5 who love trucks, it does seem to be the vast majority. I am the mother of three, and the older two caught the “big truck” buzz around 2-3 years old, and the 7-year-old still loves anything big and mechanical. Their personal library is decked out with books on big machines, and Bulldozers by Jean Eick is one of their favorite additions.

About Bulldozers by Jean Eick

A lot of kids love particular subjects, but they’re also particular about the types of illustrations that will catch their attention. Pictures should ideally have a lot of detail and color. Machinery pictures are an added plus. That made Bulldozers an obvious choice for my kids.

The text itself is extremely simple. It works tolerably well for a child just learning how to read, but it’s not likely to hold the attention of a kid that’s just listening to the reading. In fact, my own son made it through the text itself a total of one time as a 3-year-old. At 7, he even gets bored reading it. The true value in this book is the pictures. Rather than drawings or paintings, it has real photographs of bulldozers performing various jobs.

In the back, there’s a small glossary to help kids understand what they’re reading. Words that are included in the glossary appear in bold in the book’s text. For this book, the glossary words are blade, cab, crawler tracks, operator, and ripper. These may not be very useful for younger children, but they’re a nice addition for children who are old enough to read for themselves. Though the explanations are simple, they’re a great way to learn more about bulldozers.

Bulldozers critique

My own son barely made it through the first read-through; the text just didn’t hold his attention. As soon as I’d finished, he snatched the book out of my hands and went to enjoy it on his own. He then proceeded to spend hours looking over the pictures, making up his own story as he went along, greeting each page with his own bulldozer noises.

As an adult, I’d say the photographs used in this book aren’t very good. The pictures aren’t particularly crisp, and colors aren’t that great. It’s a good thing that this book isn’t written for adults. My son thinks they’re absolutely perfect. To him, the pictures in the book look exactly like what he sees out the window when we’re driving down the road.

We live in a rural area that sees a lot of construction every year. My son gets to see all types of equipment in person, and loves books that show him the same things. His favorites are Bulldozers, and then Dump Trucks from the same series. While he’s actually in the car, he likes to leaf through the book and match pictures to the machines we’re passing.

This book isn’t what you’d call a big achievement in children’s literature, but it will certainly catch the attention of the child who loves heavy machinery. Some kids may require brighter colors in the photos, but most seem to pay attention to these quite well. Finally, it does offer a couple of challenges for early readers, as well as an educational opportunity for the bulldozer enthusiast.

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