Books by Mary Murphy

WHAT I LIKE MOST by Mary Murphy
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 7, 2020

"A simple yet sweet introduction to impermanence and change in all things…except one. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A small child describes "what I like most in the world"…that is, except for the other thing, and also the other thing, and so on. Read full book review >
ONLY A TREE KNOWS HOW TO BE A TREE by Mary Murphy
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 10, 2020

"A simple message delivered effectively. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A celebration of the uniqueness of trees—and birds, dogs, fish, the planet Earth, the universe, and each human being. Read full book review >
MOUSE IS SMALL by Mary Murphy
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 15, 2017

"A winning reminder that sometimes the little guy comes out on top. (Board book. 1-3)"
Size isn't everything! Read full book review >
GOOD NIGHT LIKE THIS by Mary Murphy
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Move over, Goodnight Moon. There's a new star on the bedtime bookshelf. (Picture book. 1-5)"
The third entry in Murphy's ...Like This series explores the nighttime world of animal parents and babies settling down for sleep. Read full book review >
CROCOPOTAMUS by Mary Murphy
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"With 49 possible combinations, this is a book that can be looked at over and over again. What fun! (Board book. 2-4)"
Mix and match the seven wild animals to create new crazy animals with silly names. Read full book review >
ARE YOU MY MOMMY? by Mary Murphy
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 14, 2015

"Solid but not a standout in the genre. (Board book. 9 mos.-2)"
A little pup pokes around the barnyard in search of its mother. Read full book review >
SAY HELLO LIKE THIS by Mary Murphy
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 11, 2014

"A hoot (pun intended). (Picture book. 1-4)"
Toddlers and their adults nationwide will welcome with open arms this clever coupling of animal sounds and lift-the-flap elements. Read full book review >
A KISS LIKE THIS by Mary Murphy
CHILDREN'S
Released: Dec. 11, 2012

"Slim? Fleeting? Predictable? Yes, but the youngest listeners won't mind. Sure to inspire lots of cuddles and lip smacks. (Picture book. 1-3)"
Murphy (Utterly Lovely One, 2011) produces another bright slip of a title just right for the youngest toddlers. Read full book review >
UTTERLY LOVELY ONE by Mary Murphy
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 14, 2012

"A nice choice to share at bedtime or cuddled close, this provides a good introduction to animal babies for the youngest children, who will recognize the differing fledglings as being not unlike themselves. (Picture book. 1-4)"
There are many lovely babies in the world, but only one belongs to Mama… Read full book review >
PANDA FOO AND THE NEW FRIEND by Mary Murphy
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2007

Murphy explores the delicate art of making new friends in this gentle preschool tale. Panda Foo's friends, Jigger Bird and Boodle, are surprised to discover that he has included a new and unknown friend on their picnic outing. Murphy addresses the concept of welcoming and adjusting to a new friend with a straightforward simplicity that is entirely apropos for the preschool set. Jigger and Boodle's unabashed curiosity regarding this new persona resonates with the piercing honesty that is the hallmark of those under a certain age. Murphy's full-bleed watercolor illustrations echo the tranquility of the tale, with the pastel hue further evoking a calming sense of serenity. Her inspiration for the characters, including a baby boar, a panda and a blue sheep, are drawn from the wildlife of China. The friends' matter-of-fact exchange and ultimate acceptance of their newest member makes this an excellent tale to share with young readers. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
LITTLE OWL AND THE STAR by Mary Murphy
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

In this simple and touching Christmas story, Little Owl meets a bright and shining star who invites the young owl to follow along in the sky. They meet the "traveling men," the shepherds, and the angels, before Little Owl finds a sleeping baby in a stable. Little Owl's gentle touch with his wing makes the baby smile, and that smile grows into smiles on the faces of all the other people and animals who crowd into the stable. The final spread shows the star in bright, glittery gold, symbolically filling the world with light, shown as splashes of brilliant color streaking across the dark sky. The first-person story is told in just a few poetic words, with the innocent young owl as narrator, and this device helps to effectively convey the wonder of the special event. The visually arresting art uses neon-bright shades against black backgrounds with pink hand-lettering for the text. The story is short and simple enough for toddlers and will make a wonderful introduction to the Christmas story for young listeners. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
I KISSED THE BABY! by Mary Murphy
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2003

The excitement of a new arrival is proclaimed loudly and by all: "I saw the baby! Did you see the baby? Yes! I saw the baby, the teeny weeny thing." Then, "I fed the baby! Did you feed the baby? Yes! I fed the baby. What a hungry little one!" Set on solid black or white backgrounds, the words are in big, splashy letters of the opposite color as are the simple, graphic animal figures, one to a page: fish, squirrel, ant, bird, frog. A thick edge of bright color oozes along one edge of each spread. Finally the duck says, "Of course I kissed the baby, my own amazing baby." Her little duckling is in bright yellow; her mother's kiss "Ppfffwah!" in glowing tea rose, with little pink hearts. This is ebullient and adorable, and its clear, broadly articulated forms make it a natural to read to toddler groups and—as advised—by the person holding the new baby. Also useful for youngsters who might need a little push to greet the new sibling with enthusiasm. A knock-out in design and concept. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
THE ALPHABET KEEPER by Mary Murphy
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 11, 2003

A dark-haired lady in a shapeless overcoat keeps the letters of the alphabet caged until they escape into a witty and inventive story. When the Alphabet Keeper cleans the cage that imprisons the letters, out they fly, escaping through the window on the breeze. She chases them, but they elude capture—when she goes after them in a bus, the h flies down and turns the bus into a bush. When she evolves a plan, the t turns her plan into a plant. When the letters "Shout loud!" the c turns loud into a cloud, where they hide. Letters added, subtracted, and reversed contribute to the wordplay that will delight children particularly as they master the trick, for example, of reading "rats" backwards so that it is "star." In the end, the Alphabet Keeper loses them all, as they change "moo" into "moon" adding "et" to the rock she threw at them, and the rocket carries them to the moon. The illustrations use heavy black line and a few basic colors to create strong, simple, but energetic shapes. Each letter (they are all lower case) has an eye and a mouth, giving them a bit of personality while retaining their essence of letter form. A bright bit of imagination worthy of the old television show The Electric Company. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
HOW KIND! by Mary Murphy
by Mary Murphy, illustrated by Mary Murphy
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2001

Good deeds beget good deeds in this graphically bold and bright celebration of benevolence. Hen gives Pig an egg, a kindness that inspires him to give a carrot to Rabbit, who in turn picks flowers for Cow, and so on until Pig returns the initial favor by presenting Hen with a chick—hatched from her original egg. The clever turn of events leaves readers wondering if Hen has hornswoggled Pig into doing the work of hatching her egg, or if she is simply thanking him for the gift? The youngest readers and listeners will not be distracted by such concerns and will enjoy shouting out "How kind!" as it's repeated throughout the text; they may also be inspired to emulate the animals and take turns doing one another kindnesses. Electric pink, sky blue, yellow, orange, purple, and tennis-ball-green ink-and-wash illustrations outlined in heavy black add to the cheer and are complemented by the loose yet readable typeface, created by and named for Murphy (Koala and the Flower, not reviewed, etc.). For just plain storytime fun or for introducing the concept of karma, this is a winner. (Picture book. 2-4)Read full book review >
SOME THINGS CHANGE by Mary Murphy
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2001

Murphy's trio of convivial penguins (Please Be Quiet!, 1999, etc.) returns, this time to demystify the nature of change for young readers. With simple prose and bright artwork, this soothing tale is ideal for introducing toddlers, notorious sticklers for routine, to the notion of change. Using a series of rudimentary contrasts that illuminate at once the inevitability and innocuous nature of most changes, Murphy describes changing moods, weather, prerogatives, and more. The sagacious observations range from pithy declarations, "I change," to more pragmatic examples, "Day changes to night." Each statement is accompanied by a full-bleed, two-page spread featuring a penguin parent and two penguin offspring engaging in a fun, familiar activity that exemplifies the various states of change described. That the two young penguins remain notably unruffled by the shifting events is inspiring for young readers. Pictures of chunky penguins gleefully cavorting about, combined with boldly colored backgrounds in vibrant hues of lemon yellow, cerulean blue, and crimson, deftly captures readers' attentions. The chipper tale concludes on an upbeat note, with an affirmation of the one immutable constant for a young child: the love of a parent. Straightforward and accessible for the youngest reader, Murphy's tale offers children a comforting exploration of a challenging and oftentimes unsettling concept. (Picture book. 1-4)Read full book review >
PLEASE BE QUIET! by Mary Murphy
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

Cheerful, flashy colors herald this book for toddlers from Murphy (Caterpillar's Wish, p. 454, etc.). The stout pages depict the doings of a young, boldly outlined penguin, who is making a lot of noise. He (or she) bangs pots, jumps a lot, roller skates around the house, and in each instance, a parent penguin asks for quiet, until finally: "Outside, please!" The youngster waltzes down the garden path, where he meets up with his pals, a piglet and a bunny, for some hopping, rolling, and puddle-jumping. When his mother says he can return to the house, he has an idea: He can dance around in a pair of socks to muffle the noise. "Clever you!" says his mother. The simple, recognizable antics along with the flamboyant blue, yellow, and red should catch and hold onlookers, as will the closing page; the little penguin, now settled in his mother's lap along with the baby, tells the crying child, "Please be quiet!" What goes around, comes around, in this jolly glimpse of a child's noisy needs. (Picture book. 1-4) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1999

Readers journey through the seasons with puppies whose behavior resembles that of preschoolers. They dodge falling apple blossoms in spring, have a picnic with friends in summer, pick apples and jump in piles of leaves in fall, and have a snowball fight in winter. Murphy (Caterpillar's Wish, p. 454, etc.) captures the joy and surprises inherent in the arrival of the seasons, making this book a real heartwarmer. The bright coloring of her illustrations engages readers, as the puppies find a new adventure around every corner; the text is a terrific one to read a loud, subtly conveying with humor some time-honored lessons on ecology, sharing, and cooperation. (Picture book. 3-5) Read full book review >
CATERPILLAR'S WISH by Mary Murphy
Released: March 1, 1999

Little Caterpillar longs to fly away with friends Ladybird and Bee. Wingless and earthbound, she patiently awaits their eventual reappearance. However, when Ladybird and Bee return from an aerial jaunt one day they discover that their friend is missing. Snail informs them that she is slumbering within a cocoon. Soon, to her friends delight, Caterpillar emerges sporting a pair of glorious yellow wings and asks to be called by her new name, Butterfly. The three are next seen soaring over the garden together. Murphy (I Like It When . . ., 1997) puts the characters for this vivid picture book amid the bright foliage of a bountiful garden. In the full-page illustrations, awash with color and drawn from a bug's perspective, boldly outlined flowers loom as tall as trees, while leaves provide a verdant canopy for the convivial insects. The oversized format and thick, durable paper allow toddlers the freedom to manipulate the pages on their own, which they will, and frequently. (Picture book. 1-4) Read full book review >