We can thank Virginia Lee Burton in part for animating machines and buildings–and making them so lovable that we secretly long for the days of steam shovels, agree that country living is best as long as you’re in a little house, and are so thankful San Francisco has brought back the cable car. Contemporary books like Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site and characters like Bob the Builder, while fun and charming, just aren’t quite the same. Burton wrote and illustrated others than the ones pictured below, but these are the most well known and all center on her theme of beloved mechanical characters.

If you’re unfamiliar with these works below, and you have young children in your life (preschool through early elementary), then make haste to the library to check these out! (Listed in order of publication)

Choo Choo: The Story of a Little Engine Who Ran Away (1937)

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel (1938)

The Little House (1942; Caldecott Medal)
Maybelle the Cable Car (1952)
Katy and the Big Snow (1971)
What is YOUR favorite Virginia Lee Burton picture book?
cover images thanks to goodreads