Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Book review by
Esther Ehrlich, Common Sense Media
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel Book Poster Image
Teaches important lessons about faith, friendship.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

Not yet rated

A lot or a little?

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

Violence & scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's no objectionable content in this book. Lively drawings and simple text encourage kids to chime in, and the story has an unusually satisfying ending.

User Reviews

Adult Written bysarah_from_yale April 9, 2008


This classic children's book teaches children about the value of friendship, and luckily for parents, only gets better with repetition!
Adult Written byJohnDavies April 2, 2011
This book has to have something about it to have remained in print for so many years. I read it, aged about 6, 52 years ago, and still remember it with great af... Continue reading

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What's the story?

This classic story will have your kids cheering! Can Mike and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Anne, dig the cellar for the new town hall in just one day? This fun book, filled with energetic crayon illustrations, teaches kids important lessons about faith and friendship.


Is it any good?

A family favorite for more than 60 years, this book is a reassuring slice of nostalgia. With a story as steady and reliable as Mary Anne, it gives kids the opportunity to anticipate what will happen next. Down-to-earth language, with repeating phrases, lets kids become comfortable with the text and join in. One adult who hadn't read the book since childhood was delighted to discover she still remembered key words.

The pictures support the aura of familiarity. No fussy, fancy artwork -- just crayon drawings of rectangular houses with smoke curling from the chimneys, and of the sun, a smiling yellow ball. With such a trustworthy delivery, you can rest assured your kids will absorb the important messages. MIKE MULLIGAN AND HIS STEAM SHOVEL suggests that kids aim high, work hard, and expect to fulfill their dreams.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about perseverance. Mike and Mary Anne don't give up -- they seek out challenges. Ask kids about challenges they've faced and how they persevered.

Book details

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