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All the world's a stage

Life Story is written as a stage play with a prologue, five acts, and an epilogue. William Shakespeare said, “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players,” but Virginia Lee Burton’s players also include fish, flowering plants, protozoa, millipedes, and dinosaurs. Audience members (and readers) settle into their seats and the grand drapes are pulled back to reveal the vast cosmos swirling into existence, forming stars that will make up the galaxy. An astronomer stands on the stage and narrates the events unfolding just beyond the footlights, illuminating Earth, a “red-hot fiery ball of matter.” Subsequent scenes are staged in a similar fashion, narrated by a geologist, a paleontologist, a historian, a grandmother, and finally, Burton herself.

Record Details

Title: Preliminary art for title page of Life Story

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