­Bulldozer Friends

Holt/Christy Ottaviano. (Digger Man: Bk. #4). Nov. 2020. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250304032.
Toddler-PreS–Oliver, a white preschooler, cannot wait to go to school to play with the bulldozer and his friend, Annie, who is brown. His classmates, diverse in race and ability, participate in daily activities such as drawing, reading, and snack time. But what Oliver and Annie look forward to most is outside play, where Oliver becomes Bulldozer Man. He and Annie become absorbed in their dramatic play, and the two take turns using the bulldozer to dig tunnels and build roads. Their cooperative companion play could spark conversations with young children about sharing and teamwork. The direct, uncomplicated writing, paired with clear, bold acrylic illustrations, makes this book approachable for toddlers and young preschoolers as they learn about a day in the life of their peers. The book doesn’t rely on stereotypical gender roles: Annie is as interested in trains and construction as Oliver is in dress-up and art. Annie participates equally in the imaginary construction site, and as Oliver explains, “She pushes lots of dirt, just like me.” These imaginative scenes have the familiar warmth and style of Zimmerman’s Fire Engine Man, Digger Man, and Train Man.
VERDICT Recommended for public libraries, especially where Zimmerman’s other titles circulate.

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