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Book Review – Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

mike1I am building LTD the prefect library collection by adding only beloved books from my childhood (the only downside is that we don’t have any books written after 1980). With that goal in mind, I bring you the first selection in our book review series, Virginia Lee Burton’s Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. The classic first hit bookstores in 1939 and has been going strong ever since. For the few who aren’t familiar with the story, it revolves around construction worker Mike and his loyal stream shovel, Mary Anne. The plot focuses on their changing world with modern technology seemingly making the pair obsolete. However, no children’s book is complete without the characters overcoming a great challenge and ending happily ever after. Some critics have charged that the story has a dark message with an implicit endorsement of witchcraft due to the fact that a Steam Shovel is not only alive, but a woman nonetheless. Still others have taken issue with the hidden subtext of an unnatural love story between man and machine. However, I rebuff these critics, who clearly miss the point. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is not only about overcoming obstacles, but the true meaning of friendship. Read this classic to your kid and not only will he or she enjoy it, but I guarantee you will too.

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