Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail

Fun, informative construction caper with busy canine crew.

What parents need to know

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
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
Not applicable
Not applicable

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.



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.

Families can talk 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?
  • How do the illustrations help explain unfamiliar words in the story?
  • 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?

Book details

Author:James Horvath
Illustrator:James Horvath
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:December 31, 2013
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Read aloud:3 - 8
Read alone:6 - 8
Available on:Hardback

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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