Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail Book Poster Image
Fun, informative construction caper with busy canine crew.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Author James Horvath shows how a building goes up, step by step. He treats young readers to a broad array of trucks and introduces such building facets as girders and pipe installation. Kids may ask parents to expand on the enticingly detailed illustrations.
 
Positive Messages
Building isn't easy work: It has to be done step by step, and with the right tools. Build, Dogs, Build shows how teamwork makes it all go smoothly, even in the face of a setback.
 
Positive Role Models & Representations
Duke and his dogs work as a team. Each one has a job to do, and they all rely on their crewmates' good work.
 
Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that James Horvath's Build, Dogs, Build is certain to please children who love trucks, dogs, and figuring out how things work. The same dogged workers from Dig, Dogs, Dig are back, along with their friend Jinx the black cat. Rhyming text, a candy-colored palette, and terrific illustrations will make this a favorite.
 

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What's the story?

Foreman Duke gets word it's time to head downtown to tear down an old building and put up a new one. He and his crew of hardworking dogs bring their bulldozer and wrecking ball to clear the job site, and then construction begins. They start underground, digging trenches for pipes, then start building skyward. The project isn't without mishaps -- a near-miss with a glass window sends a truckload of balls bouncing through the streets. After some fetching, the dogs get back on task. They celebrate a job well done with a penthouse pool party.

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Is it any good?

James Horvath has another hit read-aloud with BUILD, DOGS, BUILD. As in his first book, Dig, Dogs, Dig, Horvath leads readers through the process of construction, with the added fun of demolition this time around. The rickety building comes down with a satisfying "BOOM" -- "Wreck, dogs, wreck!" He presents a parade of construction equipment including a crane, a dump truck, a trencher, a pumper, and more to take kids from the laying of underground pipes to the placement of glass on the highest floors of the new building. Like Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day and the classic Go, Dog. Go!, this book is packed with humorous touches and helpful details. Definitely a keeper.
 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how buildings are made. Check out a nearby construction project: What stage has the project reached? What will come next?
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  • How do the illustrations help explain unfamiliar words in the story?
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  • How important is teamwork? What would happen if the plumbers started working before the foundation was set or if the iron team didn't do its job?
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Book details

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