What Can a Crane Pick Up? by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Illustrated by Mike Lowery

What Can a Crane Pick Up

What Can a Crane Pick Up?  by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illus. by Mike Lowery.  Ages 1+.  Knopf Books for Young Readers.  Sept. 2012.  32 pages.  ISBN:  978-0375867262. Hardcover. $16.99

The Short:  This is a fun book!  My son and I have now read this book many, many times since checking it out from the library and it has instigated several conversations about cranes.  The rhythm and rhymes are well done.  The illustrations are clear with bold colors. The best part?  Each crane and truck has a smiley face that makes the book a real win at our house.  We highly recommend it!  

The Long:  There are a lot of picture books about construction sites and various machinery associated with construction, but there aren’t a lot of picture books about cranes.  Not too far from where we live there is a construction site with a huge crane and my husband has taken my son to go see it a time or two.  I don’t know if you already know this, but according to my son, cranes are something to get excited about.

When I saw that the library had ordered this book I put a hold on it.  I knew from the cover that my son was going to What Can a Crane Pick Up Insidelove it.  In this book the text is incorporated into the page as part of the art.  This gives it a wonderful comic book feel and makes the words as interesting to look at as the pictures are.  Another part that I enjoyed about this book is the progression of the story.  It starts with a crane picking up normal things like a truck, a car, a plane, and then it slowly moves into the silly/absurd with YOU as the last thing the crane picks up.  It makes it personal and my son liked that a lot.  The idea of him being picked up by a crane definitely appeals to him.

A lot of construction-related picture books are less than exciting to read over and over and over again — but I enjoy this one.  I enjoy the pace of the book, the rhymes, the rhythm, and how the illustrations enhance the story.  The bold colors and the smiley faces really do give this picture book an edge over other construction books.  This book has such an upbeat and positive perspective on cranes that even I am finding them something to get excited about.

There is nothing I feel compelled to edit when reading this book to my two-year-old son.  It is entirely age appropriate for children ages one to four.  I’m looking forward to checking out more books by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and more books illustrated by Mike Lowery.

Where Obtained:  Public Library

FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” If you click on the link and purchase the book, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author/Illustrator Websites:

Some of My Favorite Reviews of this Book:

kidlitbloghopI’m linking this post up with the Kid Lit Blog Hop hosted over at Motherdaughtbookreviews.com.  This happens on the first and third Wednesday of the month.  Please go check it out and post a review of your own!  There are lots of great reviews, ideas, and activities for children here!


  1. snacksformax

    I adore the format of your review! Not only the long and the short, but also your favorites of the week. That’s fantastic. The book itself sounds perfect for my little one, and the series is one I can see him loving. Thanks for linking this post up to the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

    I think every Christmas present I’ve bought Max this year has been a book, so I probably need to pass this author along to my parents so they can have a turn adding to his library. Probably my turn to get some toys. (Wait, nope, I got him a Mickey Mouse doll too! We’re clear.)


  2. Pingback: The Search for the Slimy Space Slugs! by Mike Lowery | The Picture Book Review

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