Wednesday 4 April 2012


Demolition by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock (Walker Books Australia)
HB RRP $27.95
ISBN 978-1-921529-26-9
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

Well done to Sutton for realising how many onomatopoeic sound attributes and verbs there are that children will readily associate with demolition and building. With a cry to grab your gear, readers are immediately with the workers and on task at the demolition site. I confess, though, I was hooked the moment I lay eyes on the end papers. The creators of the prize-winning Roadworks have surely conjured up another winner.

Lovelock’s illustrations immerse readers in tradespeople, safety equipment, machinery and signs that very young children will recognise immediately. Not only does the story show demolition, it shows recycling components of building operations; Crush the stone. Crush the stone. Chip and grind and munch. Make new concrete from the old. Whirr! CHURR! CRUNCH!  The old is demolished, disassembled, recycled, and removed to clear land.

Using dozens of verbs and sounds, the book presents a full story of the process involved in demolition and building. Each delivery of three words is formed in print where the first word is big and bold, the next bigger and bolder still, and the last is gigantic. Clever use of colour captures the landscape of demolition, clearing land and recycling. Once cleared and ready, construction begins. With it returns colour and life beyond demolition and construction.

As is true in our world, the building stage takes far less time than the preparation. No sooner does it begin than a new playground awaits and it’s three cheers for a job well done. Readers can see families enjoying the playground, an oasis of fun nestled below the cityscape with its permanent haze hovering in the background. A pictorial glossary at the book’s end ensures readers can really learn about the role each machine plays. Demolition is a superb production and sure to be read again and again.

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