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MARY HAD A LITTLE HAM by Margie Palatini


by Margie Palatini & illustrated by Guy Francis

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7868-0566-8
Publisher: Hyperion

Mary had a little lamb, you say? Not quite: a little ham, of both the porcine and thespian variety. Stanley Snoutowski, last in his litter, hams it up at Mary’s school (where it was against the rule) and then sets his sights on Broadway. Success eludes him at first, but encouraging notes from Mary keep him going until the day the famous producers Hoggers and Hammerswine step into his cab for a ride to 42nd St.—and the rest is theatre history. Palatini keeps the puns and jokes coming thick and fast, even as she keeps narrative tongue firmly in cheek: “Stanley wondered if he could really cut the mustard in one of Sheepspeare’s classics.” Francis’s cheerfully goofy illustrations extend the jokes, depicting a cattle call peopled with farm animals in cow suits, udders dangling, psyching themselves for the audition. It is the evident good humor of both text and illustrations that will get young readers through a story that depends on a trope largely unfamiliar to both of them—that, and Stanley’s endearing, dogged determination to make it pig. (Picture book. 5-9)