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Meet My Illustrator – Leo Timmers

Illustrator Leo Timmers

Busy Builders, Busy Week!

Monday! ‘Doze it day!
Dig it, dump, dispose it day.

In this bright, bold picture book, meet a colorful cast of animal characters building something wonderful and whimsical for their community! Each day of the week features a different construction activity as the digging, dumping and ‘dozing lead up to one stupendous surprise!

Picture book, Ages 3-6, Bloomsbury
978-1619635562 (Hardcover), 978-1681190297 (Board Book)


Hooray! Here’s the original announcement from Publishers Weekly:

Caroline Abbey At Bloomsbury has acquired Jean Reidy’s picture book text BUSY BUILDERS, BUSY WEEK!, in which progress at a busy playground construction coincides with the progression of the days of the week, and will again pair Reidy with illustrator Leo Timmers, for a spring 2015 publication. The team’s ALL THROUGH MY TOWN debuted earlier this year. Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary did the deal for world rights for Reidy; Timmers represented himself.”

Oh boy! Check out pages 7 and 8 of the Bloomsbury Spring 2016 catalog!

“The lively text supports the joy, but in this case, the delight is in the details.”


“In this bouncy story from the creators of ALL THROUGH MY TOWN, an energetic animal construction crew plans and executes a mystery project over the course of a single week. Beginning on “Sunday! Dream day!/ Study, scribble, scheme day,” the crew—whose numbers include a giraffe, gorilla, and elephant, all safely outfitted in hard hats and orange vests—assembles at a vacant lot to strategize. ‘Monday! ’Doze it day!/ Dig it, dump it, dispose it day’ comes next, followed by ‘Tuesday! Mix day! Pipes and boards and bricks day,’ and so on. Each day brings another task and progress on the secret venture; a wooden fence keeps readers from seeing the project, though some may guess at what’s happening as animal-shaped slides and swings are unloaded. Timmers’s acrylic paintings present big-eyed, cheerful animals busy on the job using realistic looking tools and trucks. The brown of the dirt lot and fence (which gets a makeover, too) contrast with increasing splashes of color—the animals themselves, as well as the whimsical playground fixtures. The result is a joyful cacophony of color and activity.”

Publishers Weekly

Fans of big construction equipment such as dump trucks and tractors will delight in this homage to machines and the jobs they perform. Also, the rhyming text in “Busy Builders” by Jean Reidy offers a review of the days of the week for little learners.

As adults read the story aloud, a picture of a neighborhood project (the formation of a park) emerges. We see the delivery of the goods as we listen to the text that describes the job.

Monday! ’Doze it day! Dig it, dump, dispose it day. Roll, mash, crunch, crash. Smooth the highs and lows it day.

After the first read, play a game with the book. Children are sure to beg to hear the book again. Before you flip back to the beginning, have children study the last double-page spread that features the play area. Then, turn back to the front of the book. As you read through this time, use the pages like a hidden picture game. Suggest that children find the parts of the playground as they are being delivered throughout the week.

The vivid pictures, engaging words and game-like feature of “Busy Builders, Busy Week” make this choice a real winner on many levels.

Sunday! Dream day. Gather up a team day.

Monday! ’Doze it day. Smooth the highs and lows it day.

Tuesday! Mix day. Give the fence a fix day.

Wednesday! Load day. Something being towed day.

Thursday! Fill it day. Scoop it up and spill it day.

Friday! Last day! Gotta finish fast day.

Saturday! Hey! Hey! Playtime fun for every day.

If reading this book whets the appetite for more construction fare, then simply get out any of Richard Scarry’s “Busy Books” and continue the foray into finding big-machine adventures. Also, children who are in preschool and are learning various songs to memorize the days of the week will enjoy adding shortened phrases from this book to their bank of knowledge. Don’t be surprised to hear snippets as they push around toy trucks and imitate the building of a playground or some other kind of dream structure.

Brandy Hilboldt, Florida Times-Union

“The bouncy rhyming text and bold acrylic illustrations chronicle a crew of cheerful animals through a weeklong building project. Young construction enthusiasts and animal lovers alike will be delighted by the zany details in the pictures as the grinning, googly-eyed beasties clear, bulldoze, and smooth the lot; bring in playground equipment; landscape; and assemble and paint a playground. The energetic rhyme and bright paintings make this a natural storytime crowd-pleaser. The illustrations provide plenty of material for discussion and repeated readings. VERDICT This title is bound to be popular with a broad range of preschoolers when shared either one-on-one or in a group setting.”

Rachel Anne Mencke, School Library Journal

“Reidy and Timmers have created a delightfully fun book perfect for construction-oriented story times.  The rhymes are fun to read out loud and even to have the listeners repeat.  I like texts like this because they feel so fun rolling off the tongue. This is the sort of text that helps children realize just how much fun words can be.  The construction theme will undoubtedly be a hit for many young children as well the surprise at the end. Timmers’ bright, colorful, engaging illustrations provide lots of details for children to look at and laugh at (the animals really skinny legs for one).  The book also works really well for helping children develop visual literacy as they study the clues and try to figure out what the animals are building.  There is more than one perfect spot to stop and let young listeners figure out what the end result is going to be.  A delightful picture book that will provide a lot of fun for young readers and listeners.”

GEO Librarian

“You know what I love? Subtly educational books that are so fun, you don’t even realize you’re learning. Which is what I love about this book. Like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this book takes the reader through the days of the week while still telling an engaging story. I particularly enjoyed the “guessing game” aspect—just what exactly are they building??

And the rhyming is WONDERFUL. I mean, see the example at the top of this review? The whole book is like that. Such great rhythm. My lack of fifth star, though, has to do with the pacing. Each day of the week gets a similar four-line poem, but some are illustrated over a single spread, while others go across several pages, breaking up the poem. While I love the extra illustrations, this did mix up the pacing a bit. Oh, and the illustrations, by the way, are a great addition; they’re colorful, vivid, and add just a touch of humor and fun.

Overall, hugely recommended. Perfect for storytime or reading aloud, because the rhymes are just so fun to say. Great for kids who love construction and play. Plus, there’s the whole subtle learning aspect! See? It’s just so great. Give it a try.”

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