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Mike and Mary Anne
Virginia Lee Burton
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Mike & Mary Anne


Since it was first published in 1939, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel has delighted generations of children. Mike and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Anne, have a very important job. They dig deep canals for boats to travel through, cut mountain passes for trains, and hollow out cellars for big city skyscrapers — the very symbol of modern industrial America. But with progress comes new machines, and soon the inseparable duo are out of work. Mike believes that Mary Anne can dig as much in a day as a hundred men can dig in a week, and the two have one last chance to prove it and save Mary Anne from the scrap heap. What happens next in the small town of Popperville is a testament to their friendship, as well as old-fashioned hard work and ingenuity. Like all of Virginia Lee Burton’s books, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel was written for her own children, two little boys who loved machines and were fierce critics of her work. Throughout her career Burton created an enduring canon of children’s books – including The Little House, which won the Caldecott Medal in 1942 — with heroes and happy endings, lively illustrations, and a dash of nostalgia for extra charm.


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