Books by Mary Ann Fraser

Released: Oct. 1, 2019

"Sunnily earnest. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Polar-opposite otters find camaraderie in this read-aloud. Read full book review >
Released: April 30, 2018

"This is metafiction done very well; it's actually three stories in one: Goldilocks', Papa Bear's, and of course, the one read by the Narrator character. All will have children chortling. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Fractured versions of familiar tales never seem to get old; they're almost always funny, especially with a main character as hilariously abashed as this one. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 15, 2017

"Calling out to history buffs and scientists, this will inspire young inventors. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)"
From an early age "Aleck" (Bell's family nickname) evinced an interest in sound and hearing, probably due to his father's profession of speech therapy and his mother's hearing loss. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2011

"Anyone for eyes cream or barbecued bat wings? A rollerghoster of fun for younger trick-or-treaters. (Picture book. 4-7)"
What kid doesn't want to be spooked on Halloween? Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2011

Bunting is perhaps best known for her skirmishes with heavy weather—racism, riots, homelessness, war—but that is not to deny her talent for pure whimsy, and that is what she delivers here. "Hey diddle diddle, the cat plays the fiddle," starts the classic, tomfool nursery rhyme. Enter the cow, but it's not jumping over the moon, it "plays the silver trombone." Then Bunting starts over, with a twist: "Hey diddle dum, the whale bangs the drum, / the seal's on the big saxophone"; "Hey diddle dumpet, the camel blows trumpet, / the elephant's awesome on bass." Fraser's accompanying artwork is cheery and saturated, the colors running from cool to hot, and the animals presented in comical two-page spreads, some discombobulated, some hep cats—sunglasses, a fez—even when they aren't cats. Then a young boy enters the picture, and there is a radical shift in perspective, a drawing back to show that the animals are part of a music-box band ensemble, a richly populated, wind-up toy orchestra that's as visually playful as a fancy birthday cake. Not the least of the music made here will be in a sing-along read-aloud, with accompanying guffaws to mark the time. (Picture book. 2-5)
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MEET MAMMOTH by Ian Fraser
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

Like a prehistoric precursor to Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy, Ogg and Bob show the ups and downs of friendship in an age of wooly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers. In their first book, the two discover a cheery blue mammoth that they immediately adopt and dub Mug. Mammoth care is not easy, however, and after covering basic training and sleep deprivation in book one, the companion title, Life With Mammoth (ISBN: 978-0-7614-5722-0), sees the two attempt to give their new pet a bath, engage in some cave art and determine who Mug's best friend really is. The books straddle that fine line between early readers and early chapter books, offering very short chapters that still contain a lot of meat and action. Fraser's art provides just the right tone, Ogg and Bob sporting permanent five-o'clock shadows in spite of their childlike natures. Certainly, it won't take a mammoth lover to enjoy the hijinks of these sweet, ancient boneheads. (Fiction. 4-9)Read full book review >
PET SHOP FOLLIES by Mary Ann Fraser
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

Though nearly wordless, this cheery story is full of deeds. All the pet-shop animals mix and mingle in the front window anxiously awaiting customers, yet no one comes in. The clever hamster takes matters in hand and devises a brilliant plan to get visitors: "Let's put on a show!" he squeaks. Detailed preparations are made, from costuming to lighting to rehearsals. The Pet Shop Follies finally opens with its adorable cast made up of the hamster (donning paper clips as tap shoes), a rat, a parrot, a guinea pig, an orange cat, a dog, a tortoise and the stars of the magic show, three white bunnies! They awe their audience with myriad talents and a complete circus show of juggling, tightrope walking and, when the rat puts his head inside the cat's mouth, bravery (the now-gathered audience's reactions are priceless). The creamy, rich gouache double-page spreads are uncluttered, allowing each amazing feat its moment in the spotlight while remaining developmentally appropriate for young readers. A sweet lap-read companion to Pet Shop Lullaby (2009). (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
PET SHOP LULLABY by Mary Ann Fraser
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

When it comes to a good night's sleep, hamster is a problem. Just as the pet-shop owner is closing up for the night, the other pets are falling asleep. But for hamster, it's time to exercise. When their shushing falls on deaf ears, the animals take matters into their own paws and help the hamster fall asleep in ways that will be very familiar (and funny) to young children. Brief text with easy vocabulary and a generous scattering of onomatopoetic words makes this a good choice for both very young audiences and beginning readers. Less detailed than those in her I.Q. series, Fraser's gouache illustrations suit this younger audience, and in no way are they missing the humorous details that readers have come to love. The expressions on the animals' faces truly steal the show. A nifty approach to problem solving, a peek at the difference between diurnal and nocturnal and a good argument as to why light sleepers should not keep a hamster as a pet. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
MERMAID SISTER by Mary Ann Fraser
Released: June 1, 2008

Shelly's little brother Gordy is "a pain in the patootie." She's always wished she had a sister instead, so she puts a message in a bottle and sends it out to sea. Coral, a mermaid, answers Shelly's request. Mom and Dad agree to let Coral come stay, and the girls dance together, watch TV, play dress-up and paint their nails. However, having a sister is not without problems: Coral leaves scales on Shelly's favorite shirt and sometimes plays with Gordy. Yuck! To make up after a fight, Shelly takes Coral to the beach where the mergirl learns that her own brother Sandy misses her. Coral goes home but returns with a solution to the Gordy problem: Sandy. Fraser offers a sweet sea-sister tale; her bright, energetic watercolors feature expressive characters and silly eye-catching oceanic details. Any young miss with a wish for a sis would be happy with this fish. A fine addition to storytimes on siblings or the sea. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
I.Q. GETS FIT by Mary Ann Fraser
Released: May 1, 2007

I.Q., that lovable mouse, is back, this time helping children learn how to keep fit. At the kickoff assembly for Health Month, the speaker tells students that he will be awarding gold ribbons to everyone who passes the fitness test at the end of the month. I.Q. decides he will be one of them, but his preliminary results don't exactly stack up to that of the kids. He works hard on his art project, though—a fitness poster—and adds to it each week as he learns more: "Eat a balanced diet," "stay active," "drink plenty of water" and "get lots of sleep." Fraser's droll illustrations steal the show as I.Q. uses everyday objects as fitness equipment and learns the hard way to follow the rules on his poster. He gets a stomachache after a brownie lunch, and after staying up too late reading, he falls asleep in math and skins his nose at recess. In the end, his results still don't measure up, but his effort is rewarded with a ribbon for most improved. I.Q. is one determined mouse who will have youngsters cheering for him as they subtly absorb the lesson he's teaching. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
I.Q., IT’S TIME by Mary Ann Fraser
Released: July 1, 2005

The focus is on schedules and routines in I.Q.'s latest time-centered outing. The lovable class-pet-who-wants-to-be-a-student is this time preparing for Parents' Night. However, the class's schedule is so busy that he's finding it hard to get his special project done. He helps Mrs. Furber with the science lesson and joins in as the students go through their day—math, reading time, recess, lunch, PE—each governed by the time displayed on a digital clock. Throughout, I.Q. squeezes in work on his surprise, which is a hit with the parents. While the emphasis is on the routine of the school day, there are some elements of telling time mixed in. The students learn the reason for 24-hour days, practice telling time, count by fives and fill in a clock with the correct number of minutes. Fraser also covers the numbers of minutes in an hour and seconds in a minute. Delightful illustrations and wonderfully expressive faces extend the story. A comforting look at what to expect from kindergarten by an already beloved character. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
I.Q. GOES TO THE LIBRARY by Mary Ann Fraser
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

Opening and closing with a handful of precious but on-target ground rules—"To keep the books looking new, never mark, draw, cut, or glue"—this barely disguised tutorial follows a mouse and his human classmates through a week's worth of visits to their school library. I.Q. wants the storybook Mrs. Binder, the librarian, reads on Monday, and on each successive day he gets closer to finding it—meanwhile discovering the fiction, nonfiction, and nonprint sections, making a bookmark, using the online catalogue, and at last getting his own library card. Though tiny, I.Q. attracts no more attention than a child would as he scurries about Fraser's bright, inviting, sometimes realistically disheveled media center. Like Gail Gibbons's Check It Out! (1985) or Marc Brown's D.W.'s Library Card (2001), this artfully conveys both the basics of how most libraries are organized, and a sense of why they're the place to be. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
I.Q. GOES TO SCHOOL by Mary Ann Fraser
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

All through the school year, I.Q., the class's pet mouse, wants to be student of the week; he has done everything the class has done, but everyone seems to ignore him as a candidate, regardless of his attentiveness to the literary arts, science, math, crafts, and recess. Time passes with I.Q.'s hearty efforts drawn in watercolor and black line, noting him as a superlative role model. In fact, all the students are just as thoroughly focused; they represent a well-balanced, pleasant, multicultural class group all concentrating on their daily activities; everyone wants to be a successful student and participates in everything, which will be an encouragement especially to the younger elementary reader. Fraser's enthusiasm for children exploring the world is beautifully upheld in all her work including How Animal Babies Stay Safe (2001) in the Let's Read and Find Out Science series. Month by month, noting the seasons pass, the school activities are clearly detailed in text and illustration and I.Q. takes part in each, including the very traditional Thanksgiving play. December is handled in the currently acceptable manner, showing a few religious practices, albeit mainstream. Fraser's overall handling is tender, totally focused on the development level of the reader, and sensitive to the needs of the young student who will be learning just like I.Q. Now on to camp. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2002

This addition to the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series offers a broad look at the way young animals are protected by their parents and by their own instincts. Fraser (One Giant Leap, 1999, etc.) organizes her text by types of care, safe homes, moving young from place to place, alerting to danger, fighting for defense, and clustering in large groups for protection, with the beginning and ending of the work focusing on the care of human babies and children. She includes many types of animals, from the tiny (snails) to the huge (elephants) and the charming (cats and kittens) to the not-so-charming (a head-on view of an alligator with her babies in her open mouth). Fraser's illustrations in soft shades are rather sweet and old-fashioned, but many of her creatures are appealing, such as a mother monkey swinging through the jungle with her baby on her back or two baby raccoons peeking out of their tree-house home while their mother lures a bobcat away from her young. A large type-size and plenty of white space make this accessible to young readers who are reading at the fluency level. No new ground is broken here, but baby animals do have an eternal appeal to the young of the species that can read. (author's note) (Nonfiction. 5-7)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 31, 1999

PLB 0-06-027718-1 paper 0-06-445176-3 This Stage 1 entry in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series focuses on eight common nocturnal creatures, from the barn owl to the harvest mouse. Each animal is introduced through a simple action: coyote hunts, opossum munches berries, tree frog calls to its mate with a "Kreck-ek, kreck-ek." The text is curiously disrupted by a middle spread of the dawn and definitions of the terms diurnal and nocturnal; the nighttime animals run for cover, but on the next page, readers are returned to sunset and the examination of those animals resumes. Fraser then emphasizes their interrelatedness: skunk sprays coyote for coming too close, barn owl snatches up mouse, raccoon snatches a crayfish, brown bat seeks out insects. A final spread shows morning, where a pajama-wearing child and raccoon meet through a window glass as "the night shift ends. The day shift begins." Naturalistic illustrations provide stills of each animal against deep blues, teals, and aquamarines; endnotes explain where nocturnal animals hide during the day. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1998

Fraser (One Giant Leap, 1993, etc.), in her specific portrait of one mission in southern California, gives a broad historical perspective of the settlement and development of the state. Ambitiously, she covers the progress of the forgotten Chumash, the indigenous people of the land, from the 1500s to their role in the building and foundation of the mission—La Purisima—to its eventual abandonment and restoration as a historical monument. Fraser includes the influence of the Spanish, Mexicans, and Anglos through their respective invasions, and through the facts, introduces larger themes that will spark discussions about civilization and humanity. While covering a lot of information, Fraser's text is quite readable, embedded in a layout that allows for detailed illustrated sidebars about the people and their way of life. The scenes evoke the California terrain and climate; the book has region-specific uses, but will appeal to readers in any part of the country. (maps, diagrams, chronology, further reading) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10) Read full book review >
ONE GIANT LEAP by Mary Ann Fraser
Released: Oct. 15, 1993

Based on authoritative sources, a vivid account of the Apollo 11 mission by the author of On Top of the World: The Conquest of Mount Everest (1991). Fraser covers plenty of territory, describing not only the mission but also (briefly) the huge effort that preceded it, the history of the space race, the arguments of our space program's opponents, and the recent internationalization of the space effort. Using imaginatively selected details (``the astronauts could hear the fuel tanks sloshing and feel the engines swiveling to keep the rocket upright''), the author effectively re- creates the excitement of this historic episode and explains at least one point of controversy: Armstrong, after being forced to land the Eagle manually, climbs down and nervously fumbles his famous line, saying ``one small step for man,'' instead of his intended ``a man.'' Uncluttered full-spread paintings underscore the drama, with low points of view pulling the action toward viewers. Technical diagrams on the endpapers present libraries with the usual problem; still, next to this, Stein's Apollo 11 (1992) seems drab. Glossary. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 9-11) Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1993

In the context of building the entire Transcontinental Railroad, a detailed account of April 28, 1869, when—as the result of a $10,000 wager—Central Pacific crews laid a record- setting ten miles of track. In her well-researched text, Fraser incorporates fascinating detail concerning building methods, engineering challenges, and the people involved, while honestly addressing the prejudice faced by Chinese laborers and acknowledging the railroad's role in ending Native Americans' way of life. Making good use of the broad picture-book format, her realistic earth-tone paintings convey the action and a sense of the vastness of the scene and the enormity of the task; endpapers add a map and glossary. An attractive resource. Concluding note; bibliography. (Nonfiction. 8-10) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

A dramatic recreation of that final, climactic morning in 1953 when New Zealand beekeeper Edmund Hillary and his veteran Sherpa companion, Tenzing Norgay, climbed the last 1100 feet to stand on Earth's highest point. Drawing on both climbers' memoirs, Fraser captures their skill and determination as well as the delicate balance of luck, will, and planning required to make the whole expedition a success where so many others had failed. In a final note, the author summarizes climbing technique and equipment and mentions subsequent assaults on Everest. Her full-page color paintings don't match the text's excitement, but they are well designed, and have a good choice of detail. Glossary. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 8-11)*justify no* Read full book review >