To celebrate Picture Book Month, we are choosing our favorite picture books to share.
Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney
Article written by Kayla Hlad (she/her)
MLIS Student, Kent State University iSchool
Choosing a favorite picture book is like choosing a favorite food; the choice comes down to the memories you attach to it. For me, that means I’d have to pick Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney. I have seen so many little ones (ages 2-4) fall in love with this book. The fun, play, and smiles that I’ve seen this book draw out of kids is absolutely priceless.
The main character is Little E, the smallest construction vehicle at the worksite. All he wants to do is help. He tries his best to replicate what the bigger trucks are doing exactly, but things keep going wrong. He stumbles, makes a mess, and just gets in the way. But just before the transformation of this junkyard into a beautiful park is complete, we discover that there is a job that only Little E can do. Little E happily does his part and gets his moment to shine.
Dewdney’s rhymes, beat, and use of onomatopoeia (beep! beep! beep!) is irresistible to young children and makes it a fun choice for story times at the library or at home. It’s one of those books kids love to memorize. So many words repeat themselves between construction books (beep, dig, honk), which makes them contenders for some of the first words for truck-lovers to learn to read.
Even now, I’m reciting the lines in my head as I write even though it’s been at least a year since I’ve read the book. Little Excavator is truly memorable.