Our read-aloud book this evening, “Dig!” by husband-and-wife team Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemensha, is a great book for beginning readers. The book stars Mr. Rally, his backhoe, and his dog, Lightning. Mr. Rally and Lightning love to dig – which is a good thing, because that’s their job. They start off the day with five big jobs to do: a bridge on a ridge, a drain for the rain, a load on the road, a pool for the school, and a zoo all brand new – and end the day by continuing to dig…in their own garden at home.
There are several characteristics of “Dig!” that help to engage little listeners. The pages are filled with simple but playful illustrations that have thick, black outlines and a muted earth-tone color scheme in keeping with the subject matter – and within each picture you can have fun trying to spot Lightning, who finds a new bone at each job site. The prose is occasionally rhyming (see the names of each job above), and there is a rhythm and repetition which is great for aspiring readers and for read-aloud narrators alike. And, of course, we can’t forget the undeniable allure of construction equipment for young boys and girls alike! We have two girls, and both have gone through stages where they have been fascinated with construction equipment – a fact which probably contributed to the popularity of this book in our house; there were days with our youngest where we were asked to read this book over and over again.