The Construction Alphabet Book
Jerry Pallotta, author
Jerry Pallotta has written many books for children and has visited thousands of schools and libraries across America. Jerry lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with his family.
Read more about Jerry.
Rob Bolster, illustrator
Rob Bolster graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and has worked as an illustrator for many years. He has illustrated several books for children. Rob lives in Massachusetts with his family.
Read more about Rob.
This alphabet book spotlights large-scale construction equipment, from "A is for Aerial Lifts" to "Z is for Zipper ... used to slice asphalt." With three pages left after Z, the book playfully starts over with "A is for Asphalt Reclaimer" through "C is for Compactor" and suggests that children finish the next 23 letters themselves. Pallotta provides more information than most picture books about the topic for this age group, with a typical entry including three or four sentences with an occasional suggestion of the sound a vehicle or a tool makes: "crunch, crunch, crunch ... eng, eng, eng". Sometimes a bit of facetious humor ("Do not use a road cutter to cut your toenails") lightens the tone of the text. The handsome illustrations, which have the look of acrylic paintings, are well composed and precisely delineated. Suitable for primary-graders as well as for preschoolers who have the patience to look carefully for a minute or two before turning the page.
School Library Journal
Pallotta follows the alphabetical formula used in many of his other titles, this time with Bolster's illustrations to showcase different types of construction equipment. Upper- and lowercase letters are paired with brief descriptive paragraphs that explain how pieces of construction equipment-from an aerial life to a zipper-are used. Some of the machines are used in demolition, some for roads; others to clear land or erect buildings. Treatment is brief. A backhoe, cement mixer, dump truck, jack hammer, and wrecking ball will be more familiar to children than a horizontal borer, knuckleboom loader, mobile rock crusher, quad-axle lowbed, and vactor. The realistic paintings, rich in tones of blue, brown, red, green, and orange, will attract youngsters. Libraries with a high demand for construction-related books should consider adding this appealing title.
Old Schoolhouse Magazine
As the mom of six sons, I've read a fair share of "tractor books" through the years. The hands-down favorite was one that actually had a tractor steering wheel on the book. But the horn died a few years ago, the pages begin to tear, and we finally retired the book amidst real tears hitting the garbage can. Jerry Pallotta's newest book, The Construction Alphabet Book, was just what we needed to pull us from our grief! With gorgeous illustrations by Rob Bolster, The Construction Alphabet Book follows the style of Jerry Pallotta's other alphabet books, guiding us through all 26 letters of the alphabet with a construction vehicle or other equipment piece to represent each letter.
Jerry's writing about each piece of equipment is interesting and engaging. These are no simple preschool rhyming sentences but instead real information about the subject matter using accurate terms and an extensive vocabulary. As I was reading this to my 4-year-old, I thought that perhaps telling him "Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation" might be a little over his head. But he just nodded, grinned, and tried to repeat it. Thanks, Jerry, for reminding me that little guys can handle big words! Of course, this also means that even though this is an alphabet book, it is by no means only for young children trying to learn their letters. My older nephew is a construction equipment expert, but I know there is information in this book even he hasn't read anywhere else!
If you have a construction fanatic living in your home, this book is sure to be well loved.
Page count: 28
Page count: 32