What Can a Crane Pick Up?


What can a crane pick up . . . a truck?  
Yes, a truck! And a truck . . . And a truck . . .         
And a railroad car, if it gets stuck.

A truck, a train,
a car, a plane can all be lifted with a crane.

From poet Rebecca Kai Dotlich and artist Mike Lowery comes a rollicking picture book about ...

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What can a crane pick up . . . a truck?  
Yes, a truck! And a truck . . . And a truck . . .         
And a railroad car, if it gets stuck.

A truck, a train,
a car, a plane can all be lifted with a crane.

From poet Rebecca Kai Dotlich and artist Mike Lowery comes a rollicking picture book about cranes—the kind that pick things up! We start with pipes and bricks and loads of steel and then move on to funny, whimsical objects: a cow, a ferris wheel, men in business suits, and an ancient mummy's case.  

With a rhyme that begs to be read aloud again and again, and quirky, exuberant illustrations, this book is sure to delight kids and parents alike. But watch out: Cranes pick UP—that's what they do! Look out, or a crane might pick up you!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
All hail the crane! It may be a simple machine, but its answer to every question that Dotlich (Bella & Bean) asks—channeling readers’ wide-eyed inquisitiveness—is yes. “Can a crane pick up a crane? It could!/ And billions of bundles of builders’ wood./ How about poles and pipes and bricks?/ To a crane, it’s a game of pick-up sticks.” Lowery’s (Moo Hoo) scraggly handwritten typography gives visual voice to the combination of hero worship and incredulity that drives each question, while his cranes, naïf in styling but detailed enough to hold the attention of young construction aficionados, go about their business with unflappable smiley faces (seldom have two dots and a upturned arc eloquently communicated so much muscular confidence). As cranes work wonders at construction sites, county fairs, ports, and railroad tracks—all rendered in sunny, saturated colors and reassuring black outlines—it’s clear that this machine lives in the best of all possible worlds: where happiness is busyness, calm competence prevails, and no job is too small. Sign us up. Ages 1–4. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, July 23, 2012:
“…it’s clear that this machine lives in the best of all possible worlds: where happiness is busyness, calm competence prevails, and no job is too small. Sign us up.”
Kirkus Reviews
This is the sort of book readers co-write along with the author. Children already know how to play this game. If they like construction vehicles, then any time they look at a large object, they're probably thinking, "Could a crane pick that up?" A truck, of course, and another truck and yet another truck, and even "a railroad car, if it gets stuck." On Dotlich goes, upping the ante, until she asks, "Can a crane pick up a crane?" By the end of the book, the crane has lifted a crane, a polar bear and a submarine. Most readers will be impressed, but children who play the game year-round will wonder why it didn't pick up a brachiosaurus or a pirate ship or a wagon full of elephants. But items like "an ancient mummy's case" and "boxes and boxes of underwear" will satisfy them. Sometimes an entire page is covered with objects, as though the artist couldn't stop drawing. Even the words of the story are scattered all over the page. This can make the rhythmic, pleasingly rhymed text fragmented and difficult to follow, but most of the time, it gives the story an energy that's hard to resist. For some children, however, the real excitement will come after they've reached the last page and their grown-up asks, "What else can a crane pick up?" Children will ask to read this book many times, but the words may change every time they read it. (Picture book. 2-7)
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Smiling, anthropomorphic machines romp through the pages of this rhyming text, showing the many things a crane can pick up, from trucks to cars and trains to planes, from sunken ships and mummy cases to a space shuttle. Sometimes they lift up a polar bear or cartons and cartons of underwear. Cranes can even pick up other cranes. Lowery's pencil, silk screen, and digital-media art makes excellent use of flat, retro colors-blue, green, brown, gold, yellow, and gray-and seamlessly integrates the type into the design. The humorous text is just the ticket for toddler storytimes, although some of the rhymes seem a bit forced. The imaginative, lighthearted illustrations are the real draw here and will be a big hit with construction-site lovers. They're sure to want to hear this one again and again.—Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375867262
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 587,973
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: AD320L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.41 (w) x 10.28 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

REBECCA KAI DOTLICH is a poet and picture book author whose work has been featured in numerous magazines, anthologies, and textbooks. Her books have received a number of awards including the Golden Kite Honor and a Bank Street Children's Book of the Year. She has two grown children and four grandchildren and lives in Indiana with her husband.  

MIKE LOWERY's work has been seen in galleries and publications internationally, and he is Professor of Illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. He is the illustrator of The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (written by Laura Murray), Ribbit Rabbit (by Candace Ryan) and Dr. Proctor's Fart Powder (by Jo Nesbo). Mike lives in Atlanta with a lovely German frau named Katrin and his super-genius daughter, Allister.

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