I recently discovered Virginia Lee Burton and wanted to share our favorites with you. I was intrigued by the beautiful illustrations, but Juliet is obsessed with the stories of trains, snowplows, and steam shovels.
I have to admit that I get asked A LOT of questions that I don't have the answers to when we read these books, but somehow, Juliet still finds them interesting--despite her mother's complete lack of knowledge concerning vehicles and machinery.
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
This is the first book of hers that we read. I've mentioned before that all the questions concerning diesel, gasoline, and steam powered engines from Juliet left me feeling pretty uninformed. But even though we don't know how all these machines work, we still love the heartwarming story of Mike and his beloved Mary Anne.
Katy & the Big Snow
After reading Mike Mulligan, we were delighted to discover this one. The city of Geopolis makes it through the snowstorm thanks to the hardworking Katy. Not too many questions on this one! (This is the only one we own, by the way.)
This is Juliet's current favorite. We have read it MANY times this past week. The first time we read it, I almost shut it because I had no idea what a tender cart was (it's the car that carries the coal for the train). Juliet kept asking, "But mom, what's a tender?" And I kept saying, "I'm sorry! I just don't know!" But then we figured it out when it fell off the drawbridge. Juliet loves the sound effects (lots of choo-chooing and whistle blowing) and the story of the naughty little train that ran away.
Maybelle the Cable Car
I love the illustrations and especially the cover of this one. The story is good too, but it didn't capture Juliet's attention the way the previous 3 did. (It did pose a lot of unanswerable questions about cable cars, though.) It's set in San Franscisco, so if you live there or are going to visit, this is one you should definitely check out!
The Little House
Another beautifully illustrated book. Juliet loves this story and asked unending questions about the subway...
Calico the Wonder Horse, or the Saga of Stewy Stinker
This is a really fun book, but probably more suited to older children. We did enjoy it, but it is long and it does involve some gunfights (as it is set in the wild, wild west.) You can tell by the title that the villian, while vile, is not so scary. (How could he be that scary when his name is Stewy Stinker?) And in the end, he renounces all his bad ways and becomes a good guy. The illustrations are particularly amazing, I think.
Do you have any Virginia Lee Burton favorites?
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