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We Dig This Demolition Book

Karen B. Estrada reviews a new book called DEMOLITION

Whether this squirming baby in my belly turns out to be a boy or a girl, I think books about machines are always fun for kids. One of my brother’s favorite books as a child was about cars, trucks, trains, and planes, but I too loved sneaking into his room and looking at the pictures when I was young. In fact, it was probably the one book we most often read together. Similarly, Sally Sutton’s children’s book Demolition ($15.99, Candlewick, ages 3-7) will be easily enjoyed by either girls or boys. The first thing that attracted me to Demolition was the catchy rhythm with which she depicts the various stages of demolition on each page of the book. Using a rhythm that is reminiscent of a cheer, Sutton cleverly describes many steps that occur in the demolition of a building, ending each poetic stanza with three appropriately onomatopoetic words, sounds of demolition such as “Bang! Clang! Clunk!”

However, Demolition is more than just description of sounds, sights, and heavy machinery that accompany tearing down a building. Enhanced by Brian Lovelock’s detailed pigmented ink illustrations, Demolition tells the story of the destruction of a derelict building, the reuse and recycling of scrap materials such as concrete, wood, and metal, and the building of a community park on the site for the enjoyment of neighborhood children. It shows how re-purposing a space and re-using old materials can be beneficial for us all. Lovelock’s gritty images of dust and debris and, later, crisp illustrations of a grassy playground and smiling children complement Sutton’s onomatopoetic descriptions, with each page of Demolition introducing your child to a new machine and a new process. At the end of the story, there is a page which has an illustrated description of each type of machinery seen in the book detailing what it is and what it does. Sally Sutton’s Demolition is a story from which your child can learn about types of heavy machinery, the steps involved in demolition and reconstruction, and a wealth of new sounds he or she can have fun using when at play deconstructing his or her own projects!

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