Dump Truck Huck

October 17, 2011 @ 7:32 pm | Filed under: , ,

Tom Lichtenheld is one of my favorite illustrators. I discovered his work—how was I missing it??—in the wonderful Chris Barton picture book, Shark Vs. Train, that you’ve heard me rave about so many times before. Tom’s bold, energetic style crackles with humor and appeal. My kids are all drawn to his work; his illustrations are the kind you pore over, giggling at the details.

I went on a binge last week and ordered all the Lichtenheld our library system could muster. (The entire second row pictured in this link is sitting on my bed right this minute.) The resulting reading pile is a Rillabooks post-in-progress, but I could not resist interrupting myself to write about one particular book from that pile, the one that has completely enchanted my two-year-old son.

Huck’s a truck kid, through and through. Trucks, cars, and trains. Preferably half-buried in dirt. He has staked a claim on a corner of my veggie garden: it’s where the trucks grow. When I saw that Tom Lichtenheld is the illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, I knew I’d pretty much found Huck’s dream book.

I underestimated. He is CRAZY about this book, carries it everywhere, begs for it a dozen times a day or more. It’s his Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel (you Ramona fans know what I mean), but I’m not in a Beezus place yet because when I read it to him, he is SO. DARN. CUTE.

It’s a bedtime book set in a construction site. Are you thinking: that’s brilliant? Because the moment I saw it, I thought, that’s brilliant. Five big rough, tough construction vehicles finish their day’s work and get ready for bed, one by one. I wish I could show you every page of the art. If you click on the title above, you can view some images from the book. There’s a book trailer there, too, which HUCK MUST NOT SEE or I’ll never pry him away from the computer ever again.

Besides, I’m greedy for the cuddles this book gets me. My busy boy climbs into my lap and more or less acts out the book—raising an arm high when the crane truck lifts one last beam, whirling his hands when the cement mixer mixes a final load—and when the excavator snuggles into its dirt bed, Huck hugs me tight: “Now we ’nuggle, Mommy.” Ridiculously cute, right?

The best part is right in the middle when the dump truck appears. “Dat me!” he says every time.

“You’re the dump truck?”


Shh…goodnight, Dump Truck, goodnight.

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16 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Theresa says:

    Oh my goodness is that ever precious! Love, love, love.

  2. Harmony says:

    Too much cuteness! My 2 yo is a tool boy, but I’m thinking he might go for this too. Obviously you’re enjoying every minute of this–thanks for chronicling it and letting us melt too.

  3. Margaret in Minnesota says:

    We get the BEST books for your review posts, Lissa–thank you.

    PS. The cuteness, the descriptive cuddles? Those are a BONUS.

  4. Ellie says:

    Ridiculously cute, yes and yes πŸ™‚ Having mothered two truck-crazy boys I can say that I absolutely get it. They’d have loved this one.

  5. Sherri Duskey Rinker says:

    Dear Melissa,

    I’m so, so thrilled by all of your kind words about my book! Thank you! I’m equally thrilled that your little guy loves it so much. (I wrote it for my own truck-crazed little boy, so there’s lots of love in that book!)

    Be on the lookout: Tom and I are working on a new picture book about trains!

    Warmest regards and with much appreciation,
    Sherri Duskey Rinker
    Author, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

  6. Tom Lichtenheld says:

    Thanks for reviewing our book!

  7. Patricia says:

    Can’t wait to hear more about the train book! I live in a house FULL of train fans — they might be older (such as my husband), but they enjoy anything that spreads the word about how smart, sensible and powerful trains are!


  8. maria says:

    Oh my gosh! Beyond adorable! This brings back such wonderful memories of my now twelve year old at that age. Peter Sis was our go-to vehicle author for quite a while. πŸ˜€

  9. tanita says:

    Oh, ridiculously cute.
    My mother just got the nephews a dump truck of their very own. My two-year-old nephew is a lot less verbal than Huck (he was up and running at 10 months; not a lot of time for speaking, with so many things to deconstruct) but he WILL sit still for Truck-and-Truck-Related-Conversation.

    I do believe this book just might do it for him. Thanks for the review.

  10. Susan T. says:

    Too sweet! “Dat me” is just the best.

    Do you have E-mergency yet? Also illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld and crazy funny. Out in November from Chronicle.

  11. Jessica says:

    I have a truck boy. He used to be a little truck boy and now he is a big truck boy (at soon-to-be-seven). I might have to seek out this book…’cause he’s surely not too old to love it. πŸ™‚

  12. MelanieB says:

    Oh my. That is going on our hold list for sure. Could it be more perfect for my truck-crazed boy?

    I wish we could get Ben and Huck together the cuteness would be to die for. Then again, Ben isn’t so good about sharing cars and trucks. There might be a battle royale.

  13. Jeanne says:

    I cannot tell you how many hours my older boys and I spent by and in the sandbox reading and doing even our high tide work as the blond curly headed two year old in our family played with trucks in the sand. And there were truck books too; oh yes! Lovely memories.

    Among the things that have not been yard saled, will not be yard saled, is the big Tonka dump truck. It stays. There could be a truck loving grandson some day.

  14. Jeanne says:

    oooh. Also remembering I have a children’s poem about Ichabod Crane, called NightTime in the Equipment Yard. Wonder where that poem is <<>>>

  15. Christina says:

    Thanks for this review, Melissa-you’ve helped me jump start my Christmas shopping. While my own young boy-child has declared (sob!) that he is “too old” for trucks and diggers and such (he’s going to be seven in a couple of weeks–I don’t think he’s too old!), this will be the perfect gift for my toddling about, vehicle-loving great nephew.