Thursday, November 5, 2009

REVIEW: Machines Go to Work

Low, W.  (2009).  Machines Go to Work.  New York:  Henry Holt and Company.

PLOT SUMMARY:  Machines Go to Work lives up to its title by showing various vehicles (including a backhoe, fire engine, helicopter, tow truck, etc.) at work.  The book builds tension by asking questions of the reader about whether the vehicle is making mistake or accidentally doing damage to the environment.  Every other page includes a fold-out page that shows more of the scene and explains what each vehicle is actually doing.

The paintings are colorful and pleasant.  I really like the technique of having the fold-out page and the fact that the last fold-out reveals that all of the vehicles are on the move within the same town.


This picturebook may be of special interests to young readers (especially boys) who like forms of transportation.  Machines Go to Work should probably be left as a read aloud though, since it includes pesky long words like "stabilizers," "drawbridge," and "container."  A teacher could then inform students about some cautionary traffic rules. Students will also have fun making the vehicle noises though, which are included in the text.

With younger readers, Machines Go to Work could double as a concept book and a teacher could have students name the colors or count the cars on the train.  A teacher could also begin discussion on cause and effect based off this book.


"Is the backhoe digging up the flowers?
No, it's digging a hole for new crab-apple trees.  The flowers are safe."

The traffic has stopped.
Is there an accident ahead?
No, a family of ducks is crossing the road."
(SIDE NOTE:  The above quote seems to be referencing a classic children's picturebook, can anyone name that book?)

This shiny red tugboat must hurry.
Someone needs help!"


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