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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

The Little Yellow Digger and the Big Ship by Peter Gilderdale

Inspired by the true story of a giant container ship wedged in a tight spot and blocking one of the busiest waterways in the world, this playful addition to the classic series sees the world's favourite little yellow digger come to the rescue, again.

In March 2021, the Ever Given ran aground and blocked the Suez Canal for six days. That event sparked the imagination of author Peter Gilderdale, whose mother wrote the original Little Yellow Digger books.

Both publisher Scholastic and Gilderdale were contacted by people who drew parallels between the books and the Suez Canal events, so Gilderdale played with ways that the famous little digger could have freed the giant ship.

While the result may not be what engineers would sign off on, it's not an implausible solution Gilderdale dreams up.

By far the best part of the story was the reactions of captains and workers. Gilderdale obviously couldn't use swear words for the target market, but he does include words that children could get away with. There's also the wonderful addition of grawlix - a string of typographical symbols (such as %@$&*!) used in place of an obscenity. It's a great literary device, and one that fits perfectly with the story. It will amuse parents, delight children and allow for a great read-aloud session.

Illustrator Fifi Colston once again lends her talents to the artwork. She honours the original Little Yellow Digger series while adding her own style and flair.

A well pitched and relevant addition to the series, The Little Yellow Digger and the Big Ship will delight fans and new readers alike.

Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell

Scholastic, RRP $19.99


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