The Lonely Digger

Children's Books

By Margaret Merry


ABOUT Margaret Merry

Margaret Merry
I am an artist and writer/illustrator of children's books living on an olive farm with my husband, dogs and cats in the mountains of Southern Spain. I love the mountain scenery, flora and fauna.My web site has links to my blogs.


Abandoned by her owner, after years of faithful service, in a deserted quarry, Lola the digger yearns for some companionship. One day, she is discovered by some children, but her pleasure in their company is short-lived when they flee in terror after a group of hunters warn of a dangerous wolf on the prowl. 

Lola gives refuge to a succession of mountain and woodland creatures, including the wolf himself, plus a fox and her cubs; a wild boar and her piglets; a pair of robins and their nestlings; a lost faun and a lynx, but none is able to remain long enough to become her friend and so she resigns herself to loneliness.

The quarry and surrounding land are sold, and the new owner has a young son, David, who himself is friendless in his new environment. Not only is he lonely, like Lola, but also he has been passionate about mechanical diggers all his life. When he chances upon Lola, he is overjoyed. His father suggests that they clean her up and give her a coat of paint. The children from the village hear about it, and so come to lend a hand. The quarry becomes their playground, and the digger their favourite plaything. With so many new friends, David and Lola are no longer lonely.

When Izzy, my 4 year old grandaughter, was staying with us on holiday we walked together to a small,disused quarry at the top of my land in the corner of which is an old,abandoned digger. Upon seeing it, Izzy commented "Poor digger! It looks so lonely".

The Lonely Digger is a story of Lola, who was a digger in a quarry. She did her job well and faithfully but eventually, as the years went by, she got old. Eventually she was removed from the main work area and placed in an out-of-the-way spot on quarry land and was replaced by a new, shinier digger. Lola, alone and neglected, grew very lonely and felt very much alone. She was quite sad, enjoying the company of the occasional animal visitor. She longed to be useful again. She wanted to be remembered, loved and cared for. Eventually a young boy stumbled upon her and is perfectly delighted with the idea of playing with her and fixing her up again. His father agrees to get the supplies necessary to clean her up. In the end, she is not returned to quarry work but instead serves as a playground of sorts for the local village children.

Neither of these storybooks are simple picture books. Each of the above stories are 68 pages long. Although there are pictures on each page, the large majority of the page is covered in writing. I would say that these books are best enjoyed by ages 6 to 12. (Amazon says 9 to 12 but I doubt you'd need to be THAT old.) Being that the stories are about construction trucks and animals, they are sure to capture the imagination of children quite easily. My son is interested in the pictures but at 2 1/2 he's not quite patient enough to sit through the whole story. I would give him another year or so and try again because they really are quite clever and charming. Also, Margaret Merry's illustrations are simply breathtaking. She is a true artist and I really love looking at her work. Again, take a look at her website to get a feel for what you can expect from these two storybooks.

These are wonderful stories that have a classic feel to them. I suspect you will enjoy them if you can get your hands on a copy! Read and enjoy!