By the final act the representation of time in Life Story becomes literal, as the sun changes positions in the sky and the seasons pass. It echoes Virginia Lee Burton’s life as her children grow up and she grows older. In her epilogue, Burton urges the viewer/reader to “look out of your window and in a few seconds you will see the sun rise.” Life Story has been translated into many languages, and new editions with updated scientific information have emerged. Even 50 years after its initial publication, Burton’s work remains a classic telling of the dramatic story of life on Earth.
As she could not do another book, it is appropriate that Life Story was her final, all-encompassing creation. And knowing her deep appreciation for life and all living, growing things, I like to think of her taking a walk through the woods by her little house, and returning to paint her feelings and describe her observations.
- editor Lee Kingman, to whom Burton dedicated Life Story.
The world that Virginia Lee Burton created in her books was taken directly from her life. She acted as narrator for Life Story and then stepped into the scene to wave goodbye to the reader from her porch.
The epilogue is a ribbon of time, winding its way to the present. The book has spanned eons and now the time remaining to tell the story has dwindled down to seconds. Burton addresses readers directly: “Now it is your Life Story and it is you who plays the leading role.”