Written by: Sherri Duskey Rinker
Illustrated by: John Rocco
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: biography, storytelling, heavy equipment
Opening: This is Virginia Lee, but everyone in seaside Folly Cove simply calls her Jinnee. Anyone who meets Jinnee will tell you that she is quite magical.
Virginia Lee Burton created much beloved, classic picture books starring the big machines that her sons, Aris and Michael, adored. From a steam shovel named Mary Anne to Katy the brave tractor, and Maybelle the cable car, Jinnee Burton wove endearing stories around the rumbling, chugging, heavy-hauling BIG equipment that fascinated her sons.
Links To Resources:
Read Virginia Burton’s books! Here is a list of her HMH titles.
Activity pages! Try these printable pages for Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel
Watch a movie! Preview a movie about Jinnee’s life in this trailer.
Visit Cape Ann Museum! Lots of Jinnee’s work is on display.
Why I Like This Book:
I’ve been crazy about Jinnee Burton’s work since my first visit to the Cape Ann Museum in 2013. You may remember reading my blog post Follow Me to Folly Cove in which I gushed about seeing her books, tools and samples of her work on display.
When I learned that Sherri Duskey Rinker and John Rocco were teaming up to create a tribute book about Jinnee in preparation for the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott-winning The Little House, I was really excited to see their work. In August, Publishers Weekly offered a sneak-peek into their collaboration. Sherri and John worked closely with members of Burton’s family, which including digging through the vast archives stored in her son’s garage!
The Cape Ann Museum hosted one stop on the national tour for BIG MACHINES, an event I could not, would not miss. Sherri and John gave an engaging, entertaining presentation to an audience that knew, worked and lived with Jinnee in her heydays. Their loving tribute to Burton echoes throughout the book’s pages in carefully-chosen words, rhythm and iconic patterns of swirling, swooshing text and image pairings. For the adults who love Jinnee’s books and the new generation of young readers that will be introduced to them for the first time, BIG MACHINES is a big winner!
For a complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books hosted by the incomparable Susanna Leonard Hill.