Friday, March 21, 2014

[BOOK REVIEW] Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

Title:  Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel

Author:  Virginia Lee Burton

Genre: Children / Trucks / New Era

Year Published: 1939

Year Read:  2009

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 4+ (Nothing Objectionable)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository


When I first heard about this book, I was wondering to myself what was so special about a book being about a man and his steam shovel.  Well, when I read this book I was amazed at how this book turned out!  “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” is a memorable children’s book by Virginia Lee Burton and it is about how a man named Mike Mulligan tries to prove to everyone that his steam shovel, Mary Anne, can dig up a huge cellar for the new town hall in one day.  “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” is a great book for children who love reading about steam shovels and learning about the power of friendship!

Wow!  This was such an amazing book!  Virginia Lee Burton has done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this terrific book about the importance of true friendship.  Virginia Lee Burton’s writing is simple yet cute at the same time as she effectively tells Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne’s story.  What I really loved about this book was how close Mike Mulligan was to his steam shovel, Mary Anne.  I thought that it was really cute about how Mike Mulligan gave his steam shovel a beautiful name, since it truly shows how Mike treated his steam shovel like an actual friend rather than a regular machine and I also loved the way that Mike is always praising Mary Anne’s hard work as he truly appreciates Mary Anne’s hard work.  I loved how Virginia Lee Burton made Mike into such a caring and confident character, even after he was put out of the job because Mary Anne was too old to compete with the newer steam shovels since he stayed with Mary Anne throughout his career.  Virginia Lee Burton’s illustrations are just simply beautiful and colorful and I really loved the image of Mary Anne herself as she looks like an old, fashioned steam shovel and yet has a somewhat human expression as you see her smiling on every page.  Another image I loved was the image of Mike Mulligan himself as he looks so small on every page compared to Mary Anne and he wears blue overalls with a red shirt and he also looks really built for doing his job.  Another thing I loved about the illustrations were some images where Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne were shown to look like characters that came out of a superhero comic strip as there are some flashing colors around them to indicate that.

This is not really a big deal to me, but the only slight con of this book is that the story and the illustrations might seem a bit outdated for the current generation of children, since this book was made during the 1930s and smaller children might be confused about what steam shovels are and parents or grandparents who were born during the 1930s might be able to explain to their children what times were like during the 1930s involving steam shovels.

Overall, “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” is a truly heartwarming story about the true importance of friendship that will remain in many children’s hearts for many generations to come.  I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.


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