Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Sutton, Sally. 2008. ROADWORK. Ill. by Brian Lovelock. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763639129 [Suggested Grade Levels K-2]

From the planning stage to opening day, the construction of a highway is told in rhythm, rhyme and onomatopoeia. Each spread depicts a four-line verse in a repetitive pattern, and each ends in a string of sounds. “Seal the road. Seal the road / Make it hot and squishy. / Spread the sticky tar and stones. / Sploshy! Splashy! Splishy!” The simplistic form is complemented by vivid vocabulary like “hoist” and “lug.”

Pigmented ink illustrations provide a detailed look at the road under construction, the workers, and their machinery. An illustrated glossary at the end gives an easy explanation of the purpose of each of the vehicles. Youngsters interested in building, machines, and big vehicles will appreciate that making roads is a lot of work, yet oh so much fun!

Watch a film showing real construction work. Point out that even sophisticated equipment is made up of simple machines – pulley, lever, inclined plane. In addition to the figurative language, the text has fine examples of imperative verbs. Emphasize the meanings of these words with hand and body motions.

Other picture books for a construction theme:
Burton, Virginia Lee. MIKE MULLIGAN AND HIS STEAM SHOVEL. ISBN 9780395169612
Garcia, Emma. TIP TIP DIG DIG. ISBN 9781905417582
Nevius, Carol. BUILDING WITH DAD. ISBN 9780761453123
Zimmerman, Andrea Griffing. DIG!. ISBN 9780152167851

By Rebecca S. McKee

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