Virginia Lee Burton created the wonderful machinery heroines (Yes, they were girls!) like Mary Anne, the obsolete steam shovel who finds a new line of work in Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and Katy the determined little tractor in Katy and the Big Snow. Virginia Lee Burton, the name used for all her children’s books, was her maiden name. More officially, and in her other works, she was Virginia Lee Demetrios, wife of George Demetrios, and mother of the two little boys for whom she was creating books.
Virginia Lee Burton hoped to be a dancer, and had just signed a contract to be in her sister’s dance troupe when her father broke his leg. She chose to stay home to look after him instead of travelling as a dancer. That, she said, “was the beginning and end of my dancing career, which was just as well, because I wasn’t very good anyway.”