Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenheld

I love a good bedtime book, but there’s only so many stories about baby animals drifting off to sleep that a parent can take. But what if all those baby lambs and calves and robins were replaced with diggers and concrete mixers and dump trucks? Now you’re talking.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is the absolute bee’s knees of bedtime books for little boys who adore trucks. I discovered it by chance last month while on an otherwise unremarkable shopping trip for socks and my two-year-old can’t get enough of it.

Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenheld

Author Sherri Duskey Rinker tells the tale of a bunch of hard-working trucks at a construction site as they get ready to knock off for the day. There’s a crane, an excavator, a cement mixer (this is an American book, so I just switch cement to concrete a la the Australian way when I read with my son), a dump truck and a bulldozer. One by one, we watch as they finish their jobs – spinning, churning, stretching, digging  and the rest – and go to bed.

The gently rhyming prose, perfect for older toddlers and preschoolers, is delightful and has a rhythm that starts with urgency then slides off slowly to a bedtime pace, so that your child will be geared for sleep without even realising it.

“Dump truck loves to work and haul. He carries loads both big… and small. He moves the dirt from place to place, Then  dumps it with a happy face. One final load spills on the heap (crrrunch!); Now Dump Truck’s tired and wants to sleep.

He lowers his bed, locks his gate, Rests his wheels; it’s getting late. He dims his lights, then shuts his doors, And soon his engine slows to snores.

Shh… goodnight, Dump Truck, goodnight.”

Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenheld

The pictures too, by Tom Lichtenheld, are sublime. Brilliant sunsets fade into dusk and then moonlight as the story unfolds with beautiful muted illustrations that are detailed enough to allow even toddlers to “read” it themselves while flicking through the pages on their own, as they’re sure to do if they love it as much as my son does.

We’ve read it, oh, about thirty-two times already and my little guy still gets the giggles when he sees the tough old concrete mixer tucked up with his blankie and the crane cuddling a teddy. He loves to join in on the shh… goodnight bits that follow each truck’s adventures, pressing his own finger to his lips and repeating the words to send them to sleep. Gloriously adorable, I’ve filed these parts away in my heart to retrieve later when he’s a surly, unresponsive teenager!

Find Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site at Book Depository, with free delivery to Australia.

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