The Little Yellow Digger and The Bones, by Betty & Alan Gilderdale

It started to rain on the Monday,
it rained on Tuesday as well,
it bucketed down on the Wednesday,
and rivers were starting to swell.

‘The Little Yellow Digger’ series originated in New Zealand and includes titles such as ‘The Little Yellow Digger’, ‘The Little Yellow Digger and the Whale’ and more. In this instalment, the little yellow digger is called in to help clear the roads after heavy and protracted rainfall has caused a landslide. The landslide has also revealed a cave and some bones. The bones are sent off to the museum for identification and the road clearing continues. While the road is soon clear, the identification of the bones takes a little longer but the little yellow digger’s driver finally is invited to a celebration and unveiling of a new museum exhibit.

The Little Yellow Digger and the Bones uses the digger as a main character, considering the driver and the machine are working as a unit, rather than anthropomorphising the machine. This allows the story to remain realistic while allowing the reader to identify with the ‘character’. The little yellow digger can do things bigger diggers can’t and this leads to the particular adventure in this story where the machine reveals the existence of the cave and the driver investigates. There’s also a brown dog appearing on every opening. The use of the machine as a character also allows an adult to sit in the driving seat while still making the machine-plus-driver a child-like unit. It’s easy to imagine little boys using their model diggers in the back yard and inventing their own adventures. Recommended for preschool and early primary readers.

The Little Yellow Digger and the Bones, Betty and Alan Gilderdale
Scholastic NZ
ISBN: 9781869438999

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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