Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel – Happy Dad and Kids Book Review

Title: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Author: Virginia Lee Burton

Illustrated by: Virginia Lee Burton

Age Range: Littles (0-7)

HappyDad’s Review

Another classic children’s book this week. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel has become known as Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne at our house. In fact, until I looked at the cover to write this review, that’s what I thought it was called.

Spend a Day in Poppervile

Recently I was able to visit the Oklahoma City Museum of Art with HappyMom and take in a few of their amazing exhibits including one about some our our times greatest fakes and forgers.

I was blown away to see the talent of some of these men who never made a name for themselves on their own but could reproduce some of the world’s most amazing paintings.

As we walked through the museum and made our way past the fakes and forgers exhibit to the other exhibits, I couldn’t help but think that some of the men who only made a living forging other people’s works were far better artists than some of those who were in the museum on their own merit.

It further cemented my belief that art is solely dependent on a person’s own taste, and what one person loves another hates. I believe the same thing holds true for illustrations in children’s books.

I love the nostalgic and simple illustrations in Mike Mulligan. I believe good art and good children’s illustrations give you a longing to be in them. They make you want to visit them and spend a day strolling through the world’s they create. The illustrations in Mike Mulligan do that for me.

Full of Character and Characters

From the townspeople and the little boy to Mike and Mary Anne, the book is filled with characters you want to meet and people you can relate to.

But more importantly for me, the book drives home the importance of character qualities I want my Happy Kids to strive for, namely determination.

Mike and Mary Anne, never give up. They don’t quit despite the odds being stacked against them and the world turning its back on them. They keep going and in the end it pays off.

In addition to determination, your kids will learn about responsibility, care for others and thinking outside the box, or the cellar in this case.

When It Counts The Most

If you’ve read any of our other reviews about some of the books I grew up with as a Happy Kid myself, you know how much I believe these books shaped me and continue to shape all those who read them. Mike Mulligan is no different.

Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne seemed to always work harder and faster when people were watching them. Not that they did their work for show, but that they seemed to rise to the occasion when the pressure was on.

This drive to perform when it counts the most has long been a trait of mine, and only reading this book again to my own Happy Kids did I notice it. It’s fun being taken back through our own lives as we share the joys of our childhood with our own children, and to me its half the magic of story time.

A Little Determination Goes a Long Way

So pick up a copy of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and teach your kids that sometimes a little determination can be the difference between being forgotten and leaving a legacy.

HappyDad Rating: FIVE Silly Faces

5 Silly Faces from HappyDad and Kids

HappyKids’ Review

James (5 year old boy)

It’s good. It’s an awesome book. It’s a good book and it’s crazy. That’s it! That’s the end daddy.

Ava (6 Year Old Girl)

It’s crazy! It’s kind of funny. It’s a nice book and that’s it. The end.

Shaw (9 Year Old Boy)

Good book, although it’s not true. But it’s fun to hear how they did it in one day.

Bella (12 Year Old Girl)

Very cute and classic book, I remember my mom and dad read it to my brother a lot. Best for little kids.

Bring Mike Mulligan & Mary Anne to Story Time and Support HappyDad

You can get this book now at Amazon here: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and support HappyDad in the process. Thanks you!