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 affection. The punning name for the shovel (for people unfamiliar with the real things, Mary Anne is a play on 'Marion', a famous steam-shovel builder) gives it a friendly personality and ties the whimsy in to reality.
Great story, with a happy ending.
This is a really great story about how friendship, perserverence and pride in workmanship. The interplay of characters is really lovely story for yound ones to hear. My two year old enjoys it but can find it a bit long. It's a classic book worth owning.