The Little Yellow Digger

The Little Yellow Digger is a Kiwi classic with detailed illustrations and a rhythmic story that will delight young children - especially those obsessed with machinery and/or mud. Buy from Mighty Ape: https://www.mightyape.co.nz/product/the-little-yellow-digger-nz-gaelyn-gordon-award-winner-paperback/2215034?r=2072938 (affiliate link)

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So every Mum has a favourite go book, right? One that their kids always love. That the lyrics are so well known that it’s the perfect book to read while I’m still asleep. Or while I’m busy typing a blog post, I can still “read” the story.

The Little Yellow Digger is that book. Our absolute favourite.

The Little Yellow Digger
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Summary

The Little Yellow Digger is a well-deserved kiwi classic. With wonderful true to life, detailed illustrations. And a lovely, flowing, rhyming text. For any child that enjoys watching large machinery or playing in mud. Recommended for ages 2-10.

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One reason this book is so popular with us is that the pictures show so many details, often very real and familiar. There are gumboots, ropes, birds, a dog and a sandpit. As an NZ story, many of the trees and houses are familiar. The scenario feels pretty kiwi too. It rains, the digger gets stuck, so another digger is organised to pull it out. This digger then slides into a drain, so a third digger is sent. This also gets stuck so an even bigger digger is sent in. When this gets stuck too, the drivers give up. And wait for the weather to clear. Very kiwi. Not super magical when written like that. But add in the beautiful, detailed pictures and the clever rhyming words that flow so nicely and it becomes a classic.

In the next door garden, they were digging out a drain, when the weather turned quite nasty and it poured and poured with rain. The garden got so muddy that the little digger stuck.

As an aside, the other day we saw a jigger digger working on the railway line. The Young Engineer thought it was pretty much the coolest machine he’d ever seen. A jigger (a Jeep like vehicle that can lower ‘train wheels’ so it can do maintenance work along railway tracks) is already super cool, part car, part train, part transformer. But a jigger digger. So cool. If only it got stuck, so they could send in a Bigger Jigger Digger.

We have all the books in the Little Yellow Digger Series. All are very popular with most of the 2-4 year olds we know. But the original is definitely the best. We have the smaller versions of the rest of the series, but the larger paperback edition (25th Anniversary Print) for the original.

I think I may have to replace it shortly, as it is well loved and dog-eared. I might consider a hard back, just because I think this will be one book that we will keep forever. Usually I’m a paperback fan for kid’s books, as they just seem a bit friendlier and better for a snuggly story time.

I have also seen a board book version, but I’m unsure whether this is abridged or not. If not would be a perfect 2-year-old birthday gift. Most toddlers seem fascinated with big machinery (fire engines, cranes, trains, diggers) and also mud. So a great combination. The story finishes with the children reenacting the story with toy diggers in the sandpit. Very familiar play to parents of small people. If only my children weren’t so keen on using the hose to make the mud more authentic when they play out this story.

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