The Baby Tree: Sophie Blackall
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Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail: James Horvath

Book: Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail
Author: James Horvath
Pages: 40
Age Range: 4-8

In Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail, a six-dog construction crew gets a job to tear down an old building and build a new skyscraper, all in one day. The adult engineer in me is a bit annoyed at the presentation of the entire construction of a tall building as a one day project. But I do appreciate the thoroughness of the construction details, from clearing away rubble to digging trenches for pipes to pouring concrete to (eventually) painting the interior rooms. There's much here to please construction-obsessed preschoolers. There's also a dash of whimsey added by the dogs (at one point there's a ball-chasing break). 

Horvath's rhyming text is accessible for the youngest of listeners, with a fair bit of construction-specific vocabulary. Like this:

"This building is bare,
with strong steel for bones.
We'll need mortar and bricks,
concrete and stones.

"The beams go up fast,
building room upon room.
As the pumper pumps
liquid cement through its boom." 

The digitally-generated illustrations are bright and stay mainly focused on the construction site, but there are a few whimsical touches. For example, the one female dog is pink in color, which I'll bet it will be a kid-pleaser in this age range. The scene at the end of the book, when the dogs all swim in the penthouse swimming pool, is the very picture of fun. The illustrations are in general detailed regarding the construction equipment, and engaging in the dogs' expressions. 

Fans of the first book, Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction Tail, are sure to enjoy this one, too. Recommended for any kid who is interested in dogs or trucks and buildings, boys or girls, in the preschool age range. 

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: December 31, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

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