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Mike and Mary Anne
Virginia Lee Burton
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Virginia Lee Burton
Folly Cove

Virginia Lee Burton


Early Years
Folly Cove
Aris & Mike

Through mutual friends I had heard of George Demetrios and what a great teacher of sculpture and drawing he was, so in the fall of 1930 when I was twenty-one, I enrolled in his Saturday morning drawing class at the Boston Museum School. In the spring we were married. We lived in Lincoln, Massachusetts, for a year where our first son, Aris, short for Aristedes, was born, then moved to Folly Cove, Gloucester, 1932, where we have lived ever since. Our second son, Michael, was born in 1935, coincidentally on my birthday. The last act in my book, Life Story, tells the story of our life here in Folly Cove. Choo Choo is not my first book. My first book, Jonnifer Lint, was about a piece of dust. I and my friends thought it was very clever but thirteen publishers disagreed with us and when I finally got the manuscript back and read it to Aris, age three and a half he went to sleep before I could even finish it. That taught me a lesson and from then on I worked with and for my audience, my own children. I would tell them the story over and over, watching their reaction and adjusting to their interest or lack of interest . . . the same with the drawings. Children are very frank critics.

My subject material, with a few exceptions such as Calico the Wonder Horse, comes directly from life. I literally draw my books first and write the texts after - sort of "cart before the horse." I pin the sketched pages in sequence on the walls of my studio so I can see the book as a whole. Then I make a rough dummy and then the final drawings and, when I can put it off no longer, I type out the text and paste it in the dummy. Whenever I can, I substitute picture for word. Each new book is a new experience, not only in subject material and research, but also in learning a new medium and technique for the drawings.

We regret to say that Virginia Lee Burton died on October 15, 1968, at the age of fifty-nine. She is survived by her two sons.

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