Book review: Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton, by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by John Rocco

Rinker, Sherri Duskey. Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton. Illustrated John Rocco. HMH Books, 2017. $ $17.99. ISBN 9780544715578. Unpaged. Ages 4-7. P7 Q8

Big Machines is a story about Virginia Lee Burton. Looking at the cover of the book, I thought it was about a woman who worked with big machines or made big machines. The illustrations are dated back a bit to depict the mid 1900’s, when Virginia was a young mother. As the story progresses, you realize that Virginia, “Jinnee” as she is called, is an author and performs magic on paper by using her “wand”. She creates whatever she imagines. Trains, steam shovels, bright crawler tractors, trains and other machines come to life with a POP! and a Chug! This book is dedicated to her young boys and they cheer her on as she magically creates the big machines. This book is full of action words. The last two pages include a short bibliography about Virginia Lee Burton and photographs of her life.

Verdict: I highly recommend this book. Not only will children be drawn to the book and entranced, they will be inspired to be an author. It shows the thought process and magic of how stories are created.

October 2017 review by Tami Harris.

[Editor’s note: Virginia Lee Burton wrote and illustrated seven picture book classics, including Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Katie and the Big Snow,  and Maybelle the Cable Car.  She won the 1943 Caldecott Medal for The Little House. She illustrated six books by other authors and founded the textile collective, Folly Cove Designers.]

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