The Little Yellow Digger and the Big Ship
Any NZ child growing up in the 90s and 00s, will have fond memories of The Little Yellow Digger coming to the rescue many times.
Peter Gilderdale has followed in the tradition of his parents and written another delightful story about the little yellow digger. It is based on a true life event (March 2021) when a big container ship, buffeted by winds, got stuck sideways in the Suez Canal. By the end of the month, 369 ships were queuing to pass. Fifi’s illustration of this part of the story is a beautiful double-page spread showing the enormity of the problem. I do love the speech bubbles with ‘swearing’ and Peter’s statement that those words coming from the other ships aren’t suitable for a children’s book. In the tradition of Aesop’s The Lion and the Mouse, the little yellow digger just quietly starts digging a drain for the sand to fall into, thus freeing the ship.
Peter writes in rhyming couplets and mostly the rhythm makes it fun to read aloud. At times, though, the rhyming feels a little forced and the rhythm a bit stilted. I would recommend reading it first before reading it aloud.
Older children may enjoy looking through relevant news archives to get the ‘real’ story.
Title: The Little Yellow Digger and the Big Ship
Author: Peter Gilderdale
Illustrator: Fifi Colston
Publication: October 2021
Themes: size doesn’t matter, problem solving
Advisory warnings: none
Would this book work as a read aloud? Yes
Is there a particular part of the world it’s set in? Suez Canal, Egypt
Reviewer: Nova Gibson, Library Manager, Massey Primary School, Auckland
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening Sentence: A captain stood quite proudly on the bridge of his big ship, steering through a long canal, a narrow tricky trip.
You can buy this book here