cover image What Can a Crane Pick Up?

What Can a Crane Pick Up?

Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illus. by Mike Lowery. Knopf, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-375-86726-2

All hail the crane! It may be a simple machine, but its answer to every question that Dotlich (Bella & Bean) asks—channeling readers’ wide-eyed inquisitiveness—is yes. “Can a crane pick up a crane? It could!/ And billions of bundles of builders’ wood./ How about poles and pipes and bricks?/ To a crane, it’s a game of pick-up sticks.” Lowery’s (Moo Hoo) scraggly handwritten typography gives visual voice to the combination of hero worship and incredulity that drives each question, while his cranes, naïf in styling but detailed enough to hold the attention of young construction aficionados, go about their business with unflappable smiley faces (seldom have two dots and a upturned arc eloquently communicated so much muscular confidence). As cranes work wonders at construction sites, county fairs, ports, and railroad tracks—all rendered in sunny, saturated colors and reassuring black outlines—it’s clear that this machine lives in the best of all possible worlds: where happiness is busyness, calm competence prevails, and no job is too small. Sign us up. Ages 1–4. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary Agency. (Sept.)