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Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel: Story and Pictures
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Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel: Story and Pictures

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  40,004 Ratings  ·  457 Reviews
"In print now for almost forty years, the story of Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel is as fresh today as when it was published -- and it will speaks directly to children." -- from the jacket
Hardcover, 44 pages
Published October 12th 1977 by Turtleback Books (first published September 9th 1938)
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May 10, 2016 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
One of the wonderful things about working in a library is that you never know when you're going to see some old friends. Yesterday I found them in the children's section. Every shelf had books that I had loved when I was a kid! It made me smile to see them again.

But I paused when I found "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel." This is a classic children's book that was originally published in 1939. I think I first read it during a visit to my grandparents' house, and it brought up some bittersweet
Mar 31, 2016 Vicki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, favorites
Mike Mulligan has been my most favorite book ever since I was in grade school. There was no other book that thrilled me like this one. I loved the illustrations, I can still see that last picture and it still warms my heart. Everyone should read this. My sister and I discussed this book and the fond memories of it on our birthday cruise.

I guess the cool nights reminded us of the Steam Shovel.
Steam Shovel

When I first heard about this book, I was wondering to myself what was so special about a book being about a man and his steam shovel. Well, when I read this book I was amazed at how this book turned out! “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” is a memorable children’s book by Virginia Lee Burton and it is about how a man named Mike Mulligan tries to prove to everyone that his steam shovel, Mary Anne, can dig up a huge cellar for the new town hall in one day. “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” i
May 22, 2015 Cannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dopest book ever. Better than 50 shades or potter. Will read every day. 10/10
Oct 24, 2012 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, its true -- I dreaded the nights (night after night after night) when one of my sons would insist we read this book! Why? Because it's long, and detailed -- good for the child, terrible for a weary parent. My boys memorized the story, and if I ever tried to skip a page, I was found out and the missing page was revisited.

This book is a great gift to give to any child who is enthralled with heavy machinery, but there's more to it than that. At the time the story is written (1939) Mike Mulliga
Peter Derk
I just read this one for the very first time today at the request/brute forcing of a co-worker.

So Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, which has eyelashes TO DIE FOR, dig a big hole, but they get so whipped up in digging the hole that the steam shovel is stuck inside. They come up with a solution of sorts. I won't spoil it here, but let me just say that although it's clever, it's poor practice to rely on cleverness to alleviate the problems of poor planning.

Mike Mulligan is a classic children's
Childhood favorite, I remember hearing this on the Captain Kangaroo show and loving it ever since, not only because the steam shovel's name is Mary Anne (spelled the same way as my name.)
John Yelverton
Oct 27, 2011 John Yelverton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books when I was growing up, and it was also one of the saddest stories I read growing up too.
Kale Mcnaney
I remember making my mom read this to me every night before going to bed. A Classic!
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This was given to Hugh when he was born, a gift from friends of my husband's parents (I only know/remember this because they inscribed the book, something I wish more people would do when they give books as gifts!), and up until that moment I had completely forgotten all about this story. It came back to me quickly when I saw the distinctive illustrations and read the story again after all these years. I read it quite a lot as a kid, I loved it so. It's a sad story, yet positive too.

First publis
Mister Jones
Mar 23, 2008 Mister Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults, children, artists, construction workers, doctors, teachers, well hell anybody
Recommended to Mister Jones by: My parents, of course
A children's book that still kicks major ass well into adulthood!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ana Urban
Mar 15, 2015 Ana Urban rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This delightful book tells of the adventures of Mike Mulligan and his trusty steam shovel Mary Anne as the work to build a new town hall. Has themes of cooperation, friendship, and industrial revolution. The illustrations are beautifully done.
Dec 29, 2011 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
This was one of my favorites as a kid. I'm not sure if that's because I liked it so much, or because this is a book my dad read to me a lot.

I think this must have been one of my dad's favorite books as a kid. It looks like the copy right is 1939. My dad was born in '41. Don't tell anyone.

Also, he built us a steam shovel. Well, it was made of wood, and didn't use steam... But, it was really cool.

Either way, I still liked this book a lot. Enough to push it on my two daughters. : ) I think they lik
Sep 25, 2014 Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the more dark and twisted books I've read. Obsolescence, falling from grace, unemployment, settling for underemployment, and more are tackled by this classic. It's hard to do this book justice, as so many people have reviewed it over the years far better than I ever could.

(view spoiler)
Sep 13, 2014 Aphie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By today's standards for picture books. This is WORDY. I was seriously worried my preschoolers wouldn't sit still for it.
But I every time I bring it out they sit there, with nary a twitch, spellbound. Which speaks to the magic of an unfortunately laid-out (in the Olden Days apparently nobody worried about picture book sentences running over the turned page), tradition Golden-Book-style illustrated picture book about outdated technology and village life today's kids have never seen (if any ever
Ethelen V.
Apr 04, 2014 Ethelen V. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: etl2368

Burton, V. L., Burton, V. L., & Houghton Mifflin Company (1939). Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel. Boston, NY: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Mike Mulligan and steam shovel, Mary Anne, have lived a busy and productive life. They have dug out canals for boats, cellars for skyscrapers, and mountains passes for trains. Unfortunately, modern technology, the invention of the gas/diesel engines are putting Mike and Mary Anne out of work. New and improved equipment are moving faster and more efficiently. F
Mar 15, 2014 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mike Mulligan and his beloved steam shovel are being out-shoveled by new fangled engines, and find themselves feeling pretty unwanted. Mike begins to question his confidence in the steam shovel, but when he hears that a new town hall is being built out in the country he declares they can dig the basement in just one day!
This book was a great way to introduce concepts like self confidence (what made Mike feel like he wasn't so good anymore? What made him feel confident again? When did Mike and h
This was an okay book. It was not one I grew up on or raised my kids with. I like that it is a story about progress and invention that also show there are winners and losers. But even though it came out allright-ish in the end, I didn't appreciate the ending. Art was okay, writing could have been a little better.
Apr 30, 2016 Sheila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic from before I was born. Mike and Mary Ann build roads and buildings. Now they are obsolete but Mike has a way of keeping Mary Ann from the scrap heap.

I remember watching Captain Kangaroo as he read this book. It was fun then. It is fun now. My brother loved Mary Ann and Mike.
This is a trimmed down version of my review, to view the full review visit The Book Ramble.

Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, Mary Ann, have helped to dig up some important things, from canals to skyscrapers, but nowadays they're out of date and a little old fashioned because of all the new gas and electric shovels. They go in search of new work and wind up helping out a little town in need of work.

I found this book enjoyable. I wasn't a huge fan of the illustrations, and I also found the story
Mar 10, 2014 Marysia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel was one of my favorite books as a child. I think mainly because I enjoyed stories about alive/talking boats, cars, etc. But I re-read it recently when my parents were sorting through my childhood stuff and figuring out what to donate and, as an adult, I saw a new angle to this book. The sadness of becoming obsolete, I think, wasn't quite a concept I grasped as a child. In addition, with the current woes Seattle is having with our tunnel digger "Bertha", as well ...more
Kessley Butler
Mar 01, 2015 Kessley Butler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel Mary Anne. They were a great team until one day gasoline shovels came along, and steam shovels were no longer needed. They found a place where they were wanted, and Mary Anne ended up not only digging the hole for the new town hall, but by coming a part of t as well. At the beginning and end of the story there is steam shovel vocabulary, pointing to the certain parts on the steam shovel, and also different things the steam shovel can do. T ...more
Rehema Payne
Jun 18, 2013 Rehema Payne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: friends, professions
This is another book that would be good for a professional day. It illustrates what jobs a steam shovel does. It shows that steam shovels are a part of other tools that complete a job. It can help children learn to play together or as a team.
Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel work hard and dig quickly, but they are replaced by new technology. Mike and Mary Anne decide to dig the cellar of the town hall in Popperville to prove their worth. They dig the cellar in just one day, defying a bet made by Henry B. Swap. They dig so fast that they forget to leave a way out. Everyone panics, but a young boy think that the town should build the hall over Mary Anne and Mike. Mary Anne can be the furnace and Mike can be the janitor. Everyone agre ...more
Jan 16, 2009 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, 2009
This was an interesting story with an odd, but touching ending. Our girls enjoyed that the steam shovel has "eyes," and seems to be alive, but didn't understand why they'd build the town hall around her. Cute story overall.
This is a great story of finding your place in the world. My kids loved the pictures and cheered right along with all the townspeople.

We've read this book several times. It's one we'll read again I'm sure.
Destiny Dawn Long
Mike Mulligan loves his steam shovel, Mary Anne. And they dig all sorts of things together. Then, a new generation of gasoline, electric, and diesel shovels arrive on the scene and Mary Anne is deemed obsolete. Mike Mulligan refuses to give up his beloved steam shovel, though, and finally finds work in a small town, which is building a new town hall. Mike Mulligan takes a gamble and says that he can dig the whole basement in one day. If he doesn't, then he won't get paid.

I love the message of h
Shannon Brasher
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is another book written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton. Similar to The Little House and Katy and the Big Snow, Mike Mulligan shows the reality of outdated technology, times changing, and also shows the power of friendship and loyalty. Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, Mary Anne work hard building everything in town from the roads to the airport until one day they are replaced with new gasoline powered machinery. Instead of abandoning Mary Anne, Mike s ...more
Apr 30, 2013 Susie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My students love it just as much as Hank did when he was a little boy. In fact one of my volunteers said that I can read aloud as we'll as Captain Kangaroo! How sweet is that?
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Virginia Lee Burton was an American illustrator and children's book author. Burton produced seven self-illustrated children's books. She married Boston Museum school sculptor, George Demetrios, with whom she had two sons and lived in Folly Cove, Gloucester. She died at 59.

More about Virginia Lee Burton...

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