GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

September 22, 2010

Celebrating a children's author with events for adults, too

A family arts celebration will take place on Saturday to honor beloved children's author and Gloucester resident Virginia Lee Burton. It will include a host of activities from a family scavenger hunt to art projects.

Cape Ann families and visitors are invited to take part in the event "Honoring Virginia Lee Burton: A Family Arts Celebration," from noon to 3 p.m. It takes place on the grounds of 1255 Washington St. where the late author and artist used to live and where she created her timeless children's books.

The event takes place rain or shine and a CATA shuttle bus will transport visitors from the St. Paul Lutheran Church at 1123 Washington St. to and from the grounds because there is no parking at the site.

The books by Burton (1909-1968), which she illustrated also, remain in print, according to her publishing house, Houghton Mifflin. "Katy and the Big Snow," first published in 1943, follows the life of a tireless tractor, used as a bulldozer in the summer and a snowplow in the winter — and Burton herself said the story was based on Gloucester's Highway Department.

Some special arts activities planned for Saturday include touring the grounds of Burton's home; taking pictures with large wood cutouts of book characters such as Katy the Snowplow, and Mary Anne the steam shovel from "Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel"; block printing for children with Art Haven from noon to 2:30 p.m.; art projects for adults with Valerie McCaffrey; drama games with JoJo from the children's television show, "JoJo's DreamCart" at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.; a family scavenger hunt at 1 and 2 p.m.; and the Plum Cove School singers perform children's music at 1:30 p.m. Storyteller Lucille LePage will sit with children and read from Burton's books.

For art lovers and collectors, there will be a silent auction to bid on a rare framed print of an original Virginia Lee Burton linoblock. She was part of the Folly Cove Designers. Guests can view videos of "Folly Cove Designers" and "A Sense of Place," a documentary about Burton. Children's books will be available for purchase.

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