Goodnight Construction Site

Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld

reviewed by Susan Fry

On one family vacation, I was horrified to discover that our hotel was right next to a construction site.  From dawn to dusk, enormous yellow machines whirred and dug, screeched and poured, loaded and dumped.  And did I mention the whirring and screeching?

But while this meant no naps for any of us, my two-year-old son was in heaven.  He sat on our balcony and watched those trucks all day long.

For machine-loving kids like him, it’s hard to imagine a better going-to-bed book than Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site.   The book has just the right mix of soft and screech for even the most rough-and-tumble child.

All the machines on the construction site work hard during the day, “To build a building, make a road,/To get the job done – load by load!”  But when the sun sets, they finish their jobs, one by one, and go to bed.

Each truck stars in its own bedtime routine, spread over multiple pages, so kids get ample chance to see their favorites in action.  And each machine has a different, appealing personality.  The cheerful crane is drawn with a broad smile, while the “dizzy” cement mixer has googly eyes.

Kids will catch on right away to the similarities between the trucks’ bedtimes and their own.  Crane Truck “raises one last beam,” then “tucks himself in nice and tight” with a teddy bear in his folded arms.  After Cement Mixer makes one final spin, “he takes a bath, gets shiny-bright,/Pulls up his chute, turns off his light.”  And as for Bulldozer?  “No one’s as tough and strong as he,/But now he’s sleepy as can be.”  He curls into a “soft dirt bed” as if he’s cuddling with a blankie.

Lichtenheld’s oil pastels let the texture of his paper show through, which gives the drawings a friendly, touchable quality.   The colors change from the warm yellows of daytime to a cool blue night that isn’t too dark.  And as the rhymes gradually move from jaunty exclamation points to a quiet “Shh . . . . goodnight,” they might just inspire some other noisy machines to go to sleep, too!

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

You can check out the Sweet Peas & Stilettos’ children’s books page for quick access to all of Susan’s wonderful children’s book reviews.

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