Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton

by Sherri Duskey Rinker and John Rocco

This picture book biography of the writer/illustrator of Mike Mulligan and His... read more

This picture book biography of the writer/illustrator of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel among other well-known works illuminates the inspiration she drew from her sons, Aris and Michael. Although his mother can draw animals, people, and even dinosaurs, Aris is most enchanted by Burton’s train, called Choo Choo. Michael, on the other hand, loves big trucks and construction vehicles, so Mary Anne the steam shovel and Katy the tractor are born. Later, Burton draws a little pink house—initially uninteresting to her boys—that needs to be saved from the crush of the city that has sprung up around it. Who will come to the rescue? Burton’s big machines, of course! Burton’s books are woven seamlessly into this story of her life as both a serious artist and a mother, with the illustrations of her and her boys cleverly incorporated into representations of her art. The focus on her sons invites a child audience into her story, and an author’s note elaborates on her life and accomplishments. (Ages 4-7)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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