Do you remember your favorite childhood picture book? Mine was Virginia Lee Burton’s Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. As a matter of fact, I love it still. In 46 pages, Burton tells a story of friendship, persistence, community and change. It gives the reader such a strong sense of place that you almost feel as if you could slip right into the pages.
As a child, I loved it for different reasons. I distinctly remember it being the first thing that assured me that girls can do whatever boys can do. I loved the way the pictures flowed from one page to another. I loved the words. I loved
the diagrams on the end papers. I even loved the way it smelled. I loved sitting in my mother’s lap as she first read to me, then I to her. I still have the same copy I loved as a child, the “Weekly Reader” edition. Here is a picture of the inside. That’s my first attempt at printing my name near the top. It might be showing it’s age, but it has stuck with me through thick and thin. When I open it, I now see not only the story contained on the pages, but my memories as well. I still read it to my own children. I still love to smell the pages. Why this love letter about a picture book? In honor of School Library Month, I have accepted Matthew C. Winner’s Shelf Challenge. Read more about it at Matthew’s “The Busy Librarian” blog. I have committed to reading all of the “M” books in our picture book collection. I see it as a way for me to connect readers to books that they will some day feel this way about.