Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (Sandpiper Books) Cover

Author & Illustrator:   Virginia Lee Burton
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin
Publication Year:   1939
Location:  Personal Collection

Awards:   NEA Top 100 Books for Children, ABA Indies Picture Book Hall of Fame

Summary:  Mike and Mary Anne, his steam shovel, are getting replaced by new gas, electric, and diesel shovels. But they set out to prove that they can still dig the best by digging the cellar for the new Popperville Town Hall in just one day. The mean Henry B. Swap doesn't think they can do it, but he sees a chance to get some free digging. When Mike and Mary Anne meet their goal with the whole town watching, how will Mary Anne get out of the cellar? 

Classroom Ideas: This classic book has great themes of perseverance (a huge word in the new Common Core State Standards and one that is often difficult to explain to kids), friendship, and creative problem solving. All of these start great discussions with students. You could also read this book when talking about the 1920s and the introduction of new technology. It's also an example of personification with Mary Ann being one of the characters.

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