Welcome to this new series, or maybe one off blog, where I discuss multiple children’s books all based around the same premise.
Today, we have a round-up of books based on the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
Here we go!
Mary Had a Little Lizard, by Kayla Harren
Lizards, lambs, whats the difference? This is a wordless picture but that definitely captures the “every where that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go” part of her story. The lizard hides in Mary’s backpack, goes to school with her, and chaos ensues because he’s an adventures lizard, obviously. The full-page illustrations are fine, nothing special, but all of the children look like those Big Eyes dolls which is somehting.
Mary Had a Little Plan by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Mary’s plan to convert an abandoned, lonely, boring lot into a community fun-place including a flower garden is a cute take on the rhyme that isn’t as clean of a rhyme–verse wise–but will interest older readers who like the cadence but want a more traditional picture book story about a little girl changing her community for the better.
Mary Had a Little Gllam by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
A fun, rhyming story in the whimsical vein of the original–in this book, Mary (a young Black girl) loves to dress up and make others dress up. When she comes to school, she gets everyone excited about getting glam, but then they realize recess is hard when you’re wearing a feather boa. It’s got the right amount of whimsy that makes it more than a school story, and Brantley-Newton’s just a GREAT illustrator for stories like these that needs those rooted characters that are fun and exciting but also backgrounds that pop but don’t overshadow.
Mary Had a Little Lab by Sue Fliess, pictures by Petros Boulobasis
This is a fun STEM take on the traditional rhyme, also told in rhyming verse. Mary is a scientist, committed to her lab and her scientific endeavors, and has no friends. She decided to make some by taking some sheep wool, and basically cloning the sheep, but it quickly gets out of hand when she makes too many. The problem is eventually solved, but I can’t help but wonder why she didn’t just…take the original sheep? Anyway, the illustrations are fun and full-color and full of science doo-hickeys and a great vocabulary.
Mary Had a Little Ham by Margie Palatini, illustrated by Guy Francis
This is the book that deviates most from the nursery rhyme expectation on this list. It’s much wordier, and doesn’t rhyme. It’s more of a barnyard book, reminiscent of a picture book Charlotte’s Web, that leans into the pig being a star and going to school and performing than Mary. The illustration style is very early 2000s television show.
Mary Had a Little Lamp by Jack Lechner, illustrated by Bob Stake
This was probably the funniest of the lot—a traditional rhyming book about Mary, but instead of a lamb she has a corded desk lamp. Yes, like the Pixar one. The story follows their adventures and people judging her–including some exaggerated and purple adults–and then Mary goes to camp without her lamp one summer and has fun, but then of course, she gets a new companion. I will spoil it for you here: it’s a toaster.
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