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The Happy Man and His Dump Truck (1950): He Waved His Hand and Tipped the Dumper

Miryam, The Happy Man and His Dump Truck (Golden Press, 1950)


The titular happy man and a dump truck full of farm animals adorn the book's cover.

I’m always kind of thrown for a loop at how much the Happy Man looks like Tcheky Karyo if you add about fifty pounds.
photo credit: Random House

I have to admit, I am at a loss to explain the enduring popularity of this book at Goat Central. My wife, who originally had our copy when she was a toddler, tells me it was one of her younger brother’s favorites when he was two or three years old, and now the Bean can’t go more than two or three days without this one coming right back into rotation. It could be Tibor Gergely’s illustrations, which have an interesting, kind of Asian feel to them at times (the dog sliding down the dump truck has a definite Chinese dragon feel to him). It could be Miryam’s use of repetition, which effectively takes the place of the usual rhythm and rhyme one finds in Golden Books from the forties and fifties and does it one better, with more subtlety in diction (if not in content) than I’m used to. Whatever it is, the Bean adores this book. It may hold the current record for most times read. If not, it’s in the top five. *** ½

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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