Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Book Review: Builders and Breakers by Steve Light


When their dad forgets his lunch box on his way to the construction site, a young brother and sister set out to take it to him, and along their way witness all the noisy, exciting action of a build site in the city. With builders building, breakers breaking, and a whole host of impressive machines and vehicles hard at work, this book bursts with color and offers children plenty to enjoy. In his trademark intricate style, Steve Light captures the satisfaction of working hard to create something new — and, of course, taking a well-deserved break.

First question: how come nobody ever brings me my lunch when I forget it? Hmph.

Light is well known for his intricate illustrations, such as those in Have You Seen My Dragon (a former Cybils contender). My personal favorite of his is Swap (also a Cybils nominee).


The illustrations in Builders and Breakers aren't quite as complex, but rather a mixture of large spaces and tiny details that beg exploration. Look for the eagle being hoisted onto the dome, or count the tiny people in the crane picture! 

If you're going to get hung up on the children running willy-nilly through a construction site with no hardhats, you are going to miss the guy rescuing the flower, or the fun parallels in the sparse text. 

This is a book for fun, and for reminding us of the simple truths spelled out in the author's note:

"To build anything, something must be broken, even if it's just ground. It is this balance - destroying in order to create - that, we hope, leaves us with something of beauty."

This book was NOT nominated for Cybils, which is a pity. It would, however, make a great Christmas gift for the youngster in your life who either loves construction, or who loves creating. My own kids have taken to calling the trash can "the treasure box", so this would be great to gift with a box of pieces parts from things that have outlived their current usefulness. Challenge them to create something new and beautiful out of those. Or, break up some leftover tiles together, and create a mosaic on an old table top. Get busy building and breaking!

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