Review of Bulldozer Helps Out

Bulldozer Helps Out
by Candace Fleming; illus. by Eric Rohmann
Preschool    Dlouhy/Atheneum    40 pp.
5/17    978-1-4814-5894-8    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5895-5    $10.99

The construction-site gang from Bulldozer’s Big Day (rev. 5/15) is on the job again. “I can help,” little Bulldozer says hopefully to the big trucks hard at work. But Dump Truck, Cement Mixer, and Digger turn him away: “You’re too little…You’ll get hurt.” Bulldozer’s feelings of powerlessness will resonate with young kids, who have undoubtedly been in similar circumstances. Then Crane spots a pile of debris and has an idea: “See over there?…That needs to be cleared and flattened.” Bulldozer revs his motor and “cha-a-a-a-arge[s]” ahead — until suddenly he puts on the brakes. Why does Bulldozer sit idle (for hours!) with his motor “humm[ing], soft as a lullaby”? The mystery of why Bulldozer “hadn’t done a single thing” is subtly hinted at in Rohmann’s sturdy block-print illustrations featuring bright primary and secondary colors and thick black lines that provide a sense of security. The hints are so well camouflaged, in fact, that many readers and listeners will miss them the first time through — making repeat viewings satisfying. Annoyed, the big trucks tell Bulldozer to “move out of the way”; when they stop yelling, they’re surprised to hear “a tiny sweet sound…a chorus of gentle mews.” Everyone agrees, Bulldozer is the right truck for this “rough, tough job.” Trucks, furry babies, and a winning little guy build a preschool-perfect story.

From the July/August 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Kitty Flynn

Kitty Flynn is reviews editor for The Horn Book, Inc.

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