Dig! by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal
Dig! is written by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha, the team who also created the fantastic books, Trashy Town, Digger Man and Train Man (more on these at the end of this review). Dig! is illustrated superbly by Marc Rosenthal, whose style always reminds me of the great H.A. Rey, especially his book Archie and the Pirates in which a smart monkey finds himself shipwrecked on an island with some no-good pirates.
In Dig!, we get to spend the day with the appropriately named Mr. Rally and his dog, Lightning, as they travel around town, doing five different jobs with the help of their yellow backhoe. Very subtly, Dig! is a counting book that features scene after scene of construction equipment at work in ways that will definitely entertain little truck-loving listeners. But, Dig! also benefits from a great story that is guaranteed not to put the adults reading this book out loud over and over, which I assure you you will be asked to do, to sleep.
You may even find yourself humming the refrain that comes at the end of each job well done, as seen in the above illustration. What I love about Dig! is way that Zimmerman and Clemesha humanize Mr. Rally by showing him at home, getting dressed, eating breakfast and reviewing his jobs for the day in a way that calls to mind Virginia Lee Burton's classic, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. After each job, readers are asked if "all the digging is done," to which the answer is always "no," even when Mr. Rally and Lightning get home at the end of the day. There is one more job to be done - Mr. Rally digs and digs, preparing his garden for planting and Lightning digs and digs, burying the bones he has unearthed over the course of a busy day!
Dig! is a sweet, sing-song-y story about a subject that is actually quite difficult to write an engaging picture book about. I am so happy to see Dig! in board book format now and hope it has a long life on the shelves!
Other great things-that-go books by Andrea and David:
which also has a great rhyming vibe to it, illustrated by the wonderful
Digger Man and Train Man
There are lots of great things-that-go in these books, but what I love most is the relationship between Oliver and his little brother, Gabe.