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Machines Go to Work in the City
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Machines Go to Work in the City

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  158 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Toddlers love machines and things that go, and this book gives them everything they want, from a bucket truck to a tower crane to an airplane. Every other spread has an interactive gatefold which extends the original picture to three pages, revealing something new about each situation.

The last spread diagrams each city machine, providing additional information for young re
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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This beautifully designed picture book is a sequel to Low’s Machines Go to Work. Once again he matches each vehicle with an identifying sound. Trucks and cranes, trains and planes, accompanied by the people who drive them, help to keep the city working.
Low’s simple straightforward text includes a question, focusing attention on each machine. Interestingly, the answer is always “No.” However, it is followed by a short explanation. The associated foldout page further enlarges the view.
This was obviously a well-loved book (from the number of taped pages) that we picked up after DiscoveryTime at one of the branch libraries. My son is fascinated by this book, might have to pick it up for him. It talks about all the cities that work in the city and even gives little info bits on each vehicle in the back end pages. The kids learn about trash trucks, bucket trucks (which my son automatically names telehandlers - thank you "Dinosaurs Dig!"), tower cranes, commuter trains, airplanes, ...more
Jim Erekson
This was a good choice for a one-artist picturebook. Too often it's the writing that is difficult to pull off, so a concept book doesn't really demand the control of a narrative or poem. We get to focus on Low's representational art instead of worrying about whether he can pull off the text. Low has one of those painting styles that looks hyper-realistic from medium distance, but is really highly impressionistic and painterly up close. I liked looking at the cityscape backgrounds to see the text ...more
Knowing that all boys love big trucks and other equipement and that there are far too few books on the subject, I grabbed this book when I saw it. The book covers six major pieces of equipment frequently seen in major cities. The realistic illustrations by the author William Low are crisp, colorful and appealing. For each piece of equipment, Low gives a short one sentence description followed by a question about it and then the answer. I really did not like this question format because the quest ...more
Machines Go to Work in the City by William Low features a number of machines in the city along with questions and flaps that reveal added twists and details.

Low's detailed illustrations are engaging. The flaps, some of which open in different directions, literally extend the story and show the answers to the questions posed. A street sweeper, garbage truck, commuter train, vacuum truck, traffic light, bucket truck, tower crane, baggage carrier, and jet airplane are featured. The final double fla
This is an inventive look at machines, combining it with large flaps to open and questions to engage. Low looks at one machine after another that works in the city and then asks a question about it. The questions are not simple either, this is not a book that talks down to its young audience. Instead you have to think a bit. Do the garbage men go home after picking up the garbage? Can the crane operator still work when the building grows taller than the crane? Is the airplane ready to leave when ...more
Book 39 Bibliographic Citation:
Low, W. (2012). Machines go to work in the city. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

Age/Grade Level: (Ages 3–8, Grades PS–3)

Tour a city and see many of the machines, along with their operators, who keep things humming all day long.

Awards/Reviewing Sources:
Booklist starred (July 2012 (Vol. 108, No. 21))
Horn Book starred (Spring 2013)
Kirkus Reviews (April 15, 2012)
School Library Journal (June 1, 2012)

Curriculum Content/Standard for 21st Century Learner:
ALA Notable Book (2013)

I was frustrated by the pacing in this book. Every other spread builds up to a reveal when you open the flap--but the answers you find there don't build the story up, they just feel anti-climactic. I'm sure it could be the perfect book for a child who is obsessed with trucks and machinery, but the complicated flaps at the end would make it a difficult story time read. There is a nice photoglossary in the back with names and tasks of each type of truck in the story.
I picked this one up because of the theme of "big machines." I have so many students who just love books about big trucks and other machines. The book does a good job of illustrating how these machines help the city. It is a more urban setting than my students can appreciate, but they need the exposure of more "big city." I had a problem with the layout of the book. The pages unfold, and the cover even mentions the unfolding pages just right for small hands. Well, no, that just isn't true. Small ...more
I grabbed one of our library’s copies to look at this today and the textures and saturated colors are just gorgeous. I love that we see a variety of skin tones and gender parity in the humans pictured. While I think it’s cool that the flaps don’t all open the same way, that they open in the direction that makes sense for the illustration, I see practically this is a problem as our copy (which was acquired in August) is already ripped badly on the tunnel flap in such a way that it seems clear to ...more
Karimah Grayson
Children see this machines all throughout the day and really don't know their names or what they do. This is a great book so children will be aware of all of the types of machines and even types of job one may do as he/she grows.
Such a cool book! My 2 year-old son (and I) loved learning about the different functions of the trucks. The illustrations are detailed and stylized and the use of the flaps is creative. The flaps open up, down, and right. Sometimes the flaps are a bit unwieldy, so I was always weary of my son ripping the pages. The last flap opens up into a large square 4 times the size of one page. Unwieldy? Indeed, but if you look closely, you will find each of the trucks from the rest of the book hidden in th ...more
Disappointing. The illustrations are terrific! The only problem with them is the foldout pages which will wear quickly. The questions that are featured on each page are awful. They are not ones that the average child could try to answer except when they realize that each one is answered, "no." There is valuable information in the end of the book that could have been better placed on the main pages. Also, some of the "machines" that are featured at the end are not on the main pages and vice versa ...more
Lu Benke
This is one of those books that libraries can't own enough copies of. Within the first few circulations, they look well-loved. (This library copy of a 2012 book is already torn in several places and missing a page.) If you've ever walked past a construction site with a two-year-old, you know how fascinating everything from a garbage truck to a building crane can be. And, this book adds to the reality of the experience with foldout pages that show how that giant hose goes down under the street. E ...more
Michele Knott
Loved this book! Young readers, especially boys, will pour over the illustrations of the city trucks and machines at work. I love how the illustrations are detailed, but the text also gives information to the reader. Not only will the reader be entertained, but they will also learn something new on each page.
I liked the additional information about each truck/machine the author included at the back of the book.
Things I like about this machine book:
+ detailed back matter summarizing the machines discussed in the book
+ beautiful/realistic spreads done in paint
+ cool big fold out flaps

Things that weren't that hot:
+ the text. I was confused at what age level the text was trying to capture. The onomatopoeia and the questions did fit well.

So this works as a pretty book about machines that an adult can just talk through with a pre-readers or have them tell you a story.
Knowing that all boys love big trucks and other equipement and that there are far too few books on the subject, I grabbed this book when I saw it. The book covers six major pieces of equipment frequently seen in major cities. The realistic illustrations by the author William Low are crisp, colorful and appealing. For each piece of equipment, Low gives a short one sentence description followed by a question about it and then the answer.
GREAT book! Each page introduces a new machine (i.e. garbage truck, train, vacuum truck, cars and trucks, tower crane, baggage carrier, airplane) with a fold out illustration. Artwork consists of full page paintings and are exciting both in their execution as well as the machines featured. F2ollowing the story are labeled diagrams describing how each machine works and all of its parts. Great read aloud!
This book is beautifully illustrated. The text is somewhat confusing in places. But it is a great conversation starter on the many jobs and responsibilities that make a city run. The best part is a gorgeous view of New York City from an airplane at the end. A necessity for machine lovers preschool and early elementary.
This is a great book for toddler or preschool storytime. The only downsides are that the pages open in unexpected way which can lead to ripping. Additionally, each page asks a question to which the answer is always no. It seems a bit strange. But the pictures are colorful and the neat flip out pages will keep kids involved.
8* art
2* concept

I should read this to Squirt when he's a year or 2 older - it might be a different rating then. I spend all my time trying to keep him from ripping out the extended page. he doesn't quite follow the story.

May 2015


Yes, he understands the story much better now.
Perfect for those who love big trucks (though I don't think the flaps will withstand a lot of love unless reinforced with clear tape). Lots of information - extra details at the end - and I like that the flaps open in different directions to keep it interesting.
ALA ALSC Notable 2013
Sharon Lawler
PreK-1 children will love the question and answer format of this book, and they will be enthralled with location of the answer which is under a full page flap. Some of the flap open to the right, some open upward. This layout is a welcome change in the community worker titles.
Little boys (and even girls) are going to love this book because of all the machines, trucks, planes cranes, etc. The artwork is great and kids will love it. I worry about the pullout pages are going to be fragile and rip but that is a the life of library book.
Wendy Garland
While the subject material is promising and the illustrations are full of detailed flaps, the questions posed are challenging and answered in a negative manner. Labels and descriptions at the end of the book explain various parts of the vehicles well.
Krissy Stoeger
good - i would read again. I can't wait to read this book to my nephews. They will love the different machines that work in the city and the 'lift-the-flaps' My nephews loved this book. It was a great read for young children.
The artwork was great. Kids who like truck books will enjoy this one. I just worry about the longevity of this title in libraries. The flaps, which are cool, might tend to rip because they open in different directions.
A book transportation-crazy kids will gravitate towards. Many working city vehicles are displayed with their proper function. Readers will have a chance to guess what the purpose of each vehicle is.

Andrea Labonte
This is a fascinating book to read to kids that love machines or vehicles of all sorts. It have beautiful pictures that capture the children's attention. I recommend this book to everyone who has kids.
Jessica Benson
This is a fascinating book to read to kids that love machines or vehicles of all sorts. It have beautiful pictures that capture the children's attention. I recommend this book to everyone who has kids.
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William Low is a much-lauded illustrator, author, and painter who has received numerous awards. His books include Chinatown and Old Penn Station. He lives in New York City.
More about William Low...
Machines Go To Work Daytime Nighttime Old Penn Station Chinatown Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze

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