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Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel 75th Anniversary Hardcover – October 21, 2014
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From School Library Journal
PreS-K—Mike and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Anne, are back in this 75th anniversary edition. First published in 1939, Virginia Lee Burton's classic picture book has remained a staple in library collections for generations. Beyond the fascination almost all young children have with extra large machines that "crowd," "hoist," "swing," and "dig," the deeper tale about a man battling against the relentless march of technological change is one that still resonates more than half a century later. This new edition features a snazzy red foil dust jacket and some brief back matter that relates how Burton came up with the ending to the story (with a little creative help from a friend's grandson.) As an added bonus, a free downloadable audiobook is available, read by stage and screen actor, Matthew Broderick. A perfect choice to replace well-worn copies of this beloved book.
"This new edition features a snazzy red foil dust jacket and some brief back matter...A perfect choice to replace well-worn copies of this beloved book."
—School Library Journal
Top customer reviews
As soon as you open this book, the old-fashioned illustrations take you back to what was a simpler time, but also an extremely stressful time - the end of the longest and most far-reaching economic downturn in our nation's history (at its lowest point, 13-15 million Americans were out of work, close to half of the banks had failed, a time when bread lines and soup kitchens were the norm, with foreclosures and repossessions leading to rising numbers of homeless as people lost their jobs - just as Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel named Mary Anne do, as steam shovels are quickly being replaced by power shovels. The deep hole Mike and Mary Anne find themselves in with no way out feels reflective of that period. It was a time when loyalty, trust, faith and ingenuity was about all you had to get by on, and the deep friendship between Mike and Mary Anne is a perfect example of that. 1939 was the year American industry shifted into high gear with WW II, when pulling together to support the troops was everything, including re-purposing of various items for new usages... just as Mary Anne becomes re-purposed as a furnace for a new town hall, for which Mike becomes the janitor - still together through it all. It was interesting to discover that Mary Anne's name was based on the Marion, Ohio's Marion Steam Shovel Company, re-named the Marion Power Shovel Company after the change from steam to diesel power within the industry had taken hold. (Sadly, after being sold, spun off, and then integrated into the product line of a long time rival, the Marion facility was closed.)
This 75th Anniversary edition is a beautiful book (with instructions on how to download a free audiobook on the first page)... some of the pages are pretty wordy, so I don't know that it would hold the attention of a 2 year old, but I think our 4-1/2 year old grandson will do fine with it - the words are very simple, and are displayed in interesting configurations (many of the pages have the lines of words in a slanted fashion, which sort of reminds me of a big load of words Mary Anne might lift!), and though the imprinted $17.99 price on the cover seems a bit hefty for a 44-page book, this is one of the true classics (which the National Education Association places among the "Teachers' Top 100 Books") - one we'll be happy to place into the hands of our grandchildren. My favorite thing about the story is the sense of dignity and respect with which Mike and Mary Anne are treated in the end, after all of their years of hard work. If only all American workers could look forward to the same treatment!
However, this board book edition is awful.
I am getting so sick of board books; they often don't include the full text, and I'm starting to realize the omissions are not harmless.
By now we're all used to the politically-correct updating that's been done to so many classic books, especially for children.
So the fact that the reference to Mike Mulligan "smoking his pipe" has been deleted from the last page of the book is annoying, but expected.
But I don't expect them to remove all the dramatic tension.
In the original story, Mike makes a deal with the Popperville selectmen that if he can't finish the cellar in one day, he'll forfeit his fee.
Gutsy move! This guy's got spunk!
Then, when he forgets to "leave a way out", Henry B. Swap tries to get out of paying Mike by saying the cellar is not done b/c the steam shovel is still in it.
The little boy's idea to leave Mary Ann in the cellar as the furnace means the cellar is, in fact, officially finished.
This is a major plot point because it enables Mike to get paid.
This pathetic rendering leaves out that entire aspect of the story, so the only reason to care whether Mike can finish the cellar in just one day is curiosity.
And it reduces the steam-shovel-made-furnace idea to a bizarre segue to a bizarre ending.
Please, for the sake of maintaining our great heritage of classic children's books, do not buy this horrible, insulting board book.
The book came in almost new condition. I was expecting more signs of use but this one was great.
This is an old classic book from the late 1930's It stars Mike Mulligan and the real star of the show the steam shovel heroine.
I read this book eons ago and remembered it was one of my favorites.... so with a new grand daughter and the book having a female as the heroine I just had to get it.
I read it to her the other day. Of course she in just 5 months old so I think I got far more out of it.......
A great book......a little wordy at times but that's ok......just talk faster.....as long as you can get away with it.
The ending is what I love.
Mike and Mary Anne save the day and show them all that steam power is not dead......
The main thing that drew me to this book though was that she built the basement for the school and still was down there giving us all heat.
I grew up where it was oh so cold so I remember thinking that I wanted to go into the basement to see Mary Anne.