Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton


It is a great college class, when your 400 level professor uses a picture book to teach a concept. I was absolutely thrilled! It would have been quite delightful had he read the book to the class, but he mentioned it nonetheless. So, I went to the library and picked up the copy of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel to read it myself (I am 99.9% sure I am the only one that did that).

Goodreads says:

     A modern classic that no child should miss. Since it was first published in 1939, Mike     
    Mulligan and His Steam Shovel has delighted generations of children. Mike and his trusty
    steam shovel, Mary Anne, dig deep canals for boats to travel through, cut mountain passes
    for trains, and hollow out cellars for city skyscrapers -- the very symbol of industrial
    America. But with progress come new machines, and soon the inseparable duo are out of        work. Mike believes that Mary Anne can dig as much in a day as one hundred men can dig
    in a week, and the two have one last chance to prove it and save Mary Anne from the scrap
    heap. What happens next in the small town of Popperville is a testament to their
    friendship, and to old-fashioned hard work and ingenuity.

I have actually never heard of this story; however, I am glad that I was made aware of it so I could. A response to the Industrial Revolution and the use of new tools vs old tools. I think, this is an incredible story of how these machines and people can be repurposed in such a way that made them a valuable member of the society without being anti-technology or anti-progressive.

This picture book plot resonates with how I believe society should choose to go along with the times rather than putting its foot down and trying to stop the advancement of technology. Engineers, scientists, managers, etc have been put in place to work to make things more efficient and more effective for the communities that would benefit from them. Yet, when given a chance to use them, people hesitate to the changes that need to take place in order for them to work.  What a great way to share new possibilities and growth with our students! 

I have a rating system I use for those books I have read and reviewed on my blog, you may check it out here. I have given this book four coffee cups, Cool Beans!


I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book every weekday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

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