Saturday, August 24, 2013

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld

Set against a cityscape backdrop, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site tells the story of five tough trucks working on a big construction site. It is the end of a hard day's work and the reader gets to learn a little bit about each truck and the work they do before saying goodnight to each of them.

The story is told in delightful rhyming text. There are lots of action words used, which provides wonderful opportunity to engage little ones - Maximilian loves to "reach and stretch and lift" like Crane Truck and, of course, the repetitive Shh...goodnight is nice to say together with "shushing". The language used also makes this a great read aloud book, as it's fun to crrrunch the gravel along with Dump Truck and rooaaar along with Bulldozer.  Like all good bedtime stories, there are also lots of opportunities throughout the story for parent and child to enjoy some good cuddles!

Lichtenheld's illustrations are just magnificent and really are works of art. The trucks and diggers manage to be both cartoonish and realistic, and their faces are filled with such personality. There is also incredible detail in every picture, and I've been amazed by how many things Maximilian sees in the pictures that I've missed - there is one page with a little owl that he spots every time! As he gets older and his vocabulary grows, I'm sure he'll notice and articulate even more of the details in the pictures.

The bedtime detail in the pictures is also really charming - Crane Truck has a teddy bear and night light while Cement Mixer has a little blankie. The night sky with the lovely sleepy moon illustration is featured on each goodnight page and the twilight blue is really striking and unusual and very engaging - as are the illustrations of the trucks and diggers.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is a wonderful book that will always hold a special place in our hearts, because this is the book that taught Maximilian about bedtime!

We chose very gentle bedtime techniques with our babies. As a small baby, we always cuddled Maximilian to sleep before putting him in his cradle or cot. As he grew bigger, we would cuddle him on our bed before transferring him to his own cot once he was fast asleep. But, as I got bigger and bigger when I was pregnant with Walther and as Walther's arrival grew closer and closer, it became impossible - I simply couldn't bend over his cot to lift his 12kg sleeping body in any more!! It was time to help Maximilian learn to go to sleep in his own bed. 

We tried lots of different things - putting him in his bed awake and sitting nearby singing songs or reading books, patting him off to sleep, etc. We had moderate success and things were going quite well. Then, one night when Walther was only a few weeks old, Daddy had to be out at night and Mummy needed to do bedtime by herself. I knew I didn't have very long before Walther would need feeding, so it had to be a pretty quick bedtime routine. I cuddled Maximilian up in my feeding chair and read him Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. As we said Shh...goodnight to each of the trucks in the book, Maximilian grew sleepier and sleepier. When we had finished the book, I carried him over to Walther's cot and he said Shh...goodnight to bubby, then Shh...goodnight to our parrots, then Shh...goodnight to ape (his favourite cuddly toy) etc. When I put him in his bed, I simply said Shh...goodnight Maximilian, tucked him in and left the room - and he went straight to sleep and didn't wake again until morning. It was magical! And it was the same night after night - the bedtime ritual and routine that this book gave us worked like a dream and we haven't looked back since.

Maximilian received Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site as a gift for his first Christmas. We fell in love with the beautiful artwork and delightful rhyming text immediately and tried reading it to him when he was a few months old. It is quite a long story though and didn't immediately catch his interest. We tried again a few months later and made it through a few of the trucks in the book, but it wasn't until he was around 14 months old that he started to really enjoy this book and sit through the whole story. Once this happened though, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site was a firm favourite and the only book he wanted to read for several weeks!!

I really can't recommend this book highly enough. Great for any little person interested in trucks, diggers and construction equipment. This is a wonderful book to give as a gift - we have the hardcover edition. The story is most suitable for ages 2 and up, and there is also plenty to engage older readers.

This is our best bedtime story ever!

What is your favourite bedtime story to read with your children? I'd love to hear about it!

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