Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel Edit
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (ISBN 0-590-75803-9) is a children's book by Virginia Lee Burton. First published in 1939, during the Great Depression, it features Mike Mulligan, a steam shovel operator, and his steam shovel Mary Anne. It is considered a classic favorite of children's literature: based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association ranked the book as one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."
An animated short film of the same name, directed by Michael Sporn, was adapted from the book and first aired by HBO in 1990; it has been regularly shown as an "HBO Storybook Musical" and has been released on DVD.
After many years of working successfully together, Mike and Mary Anne face competition from modern, diesel-powered shovels. Seeking an area of the country where his less modern steam shovel can still find work, Mike finds a small town that is about to build a new town hall. The authorities react with disbelief when Mike claims that he and his steam shovel Mary Anne can dig the cellar in a single day; they protest that it would take a hundred men a week. Mike insists that Mary Anne can finish the job in one day, though he privately has some doubts.
At sunup the next day, Mike and Mary Anne begin work and just complete the task by sundown. But, they neglected to dig a ramp for driving out of the construction pit. A watching child suggests that Mike take the job of janitor for the town hall, and that Mary Anne should be converted to a boiler for the town hall's heating system.