Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Author and illustrator - Virginia Lee Burton
Publisher- Houghton Mifflin Books
Ages- 3 to 6 years

An appealing American children's classic, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel- Mary Anne are a pair of man and machine who work in tandem and build roads and airports and buildings too. Mike loves Mary Anne and takes great care and pride in her.

Rendered obsolete, due to the introduction of modern, more efficient machines that run on diesel, Mike needs to find work outside the city because he is unwilling to scrap Mary Anne. ( rather similar to how many of us behave towards our first car )

Mike, not one to be defeated, takes Mary Anne to the town of Popperville. He offers to dig up the cellar for the town hall and that too in a day!! When met with disbelief, Mike in a fit of bravado, declares that if he does not complete the work by sunset he would not expect any payment.

The duo work better when encouraged and watched by others. The entire town of Popperville and even the neighbouring towns gather to motivate the duo to complete the work by sunset. And of course they do.

But there is a glitch. They have not left any way out and are trapped inside the pit they have dug!! An ingenious suggestion from a little boy, makes Mike the janitor for the new town hall and Mary Anne occupies pride of place as the heating system.

A symbol of comradeship and a tribute to hard work , this story is a hit in the artnavy household since the first time we read it. It is rendered even more interesting since the machine is portrayed almost as a human( as children usually imagine).

The author and illustrator, Virginia Lee Burton is said to have written books for her own children, two little boys who loved machines. That possibly explains the extra bit of charm it offers, through both the style of writing and the detailed and colourful crayon illustrations.


Tharini said...

Fascinating! A friendship between a man and his machine. I can truly relate, having named our car and our cycle...very interest pick!

Artnavy said...

Lovely book indeed-like the Herbie series right??

Choxbox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Choxbox said...

Same as T!

We have a book called Ed and Mr.Elephant - The Big Surprise which sounds quite similar - thats a picture book for younger kids - say 2-6 year olds maybe.

sathish said...


We enjoyed this book long time back. The illustrations were just amazing.

Time to find it out and pick it up again.

Artnavy said...

chox- have not read that series- need i saw a 118 NE- my dream car when i was a kid

satish- u must!!

Poppins said...

I think I've seen this book here in the library - am so excited to find a book that's featured on Saffron Tree, will pick it up. I know my older one will enjoy it.

And Art, 118 NE was MY fav car too growing up!

Artnavy said...

Hey poppy-

I am sure she will enjoy it

and on the NE- Great minds....

Related Posts with Thumbnails