SCARY MARY by Paula Bowles


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 5
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Animals fly the coop when Scary Mary ruffles her feathers.

Though small in stature, this diva proves she is the bossiest chicken around. She squawks with a vengeance, hoards sunflower seeds and padlocks the gate. Her makeshift signs pull no punches (“Go Away”; “Keep Out”). Though her neighbors invite her to join them, Mary has no interest in playing nice. Her feather-flapping tantrums succeed in preserving her solitude—but at a cost. Her futile attempts at self-entertainment (checkers is not a solitary game) leave her contrite, and she pursues rapprochement with her neighbors. Dialogue bubbles interspersed with descriptive phrases carry the story along in jolly style, though the playful tone turns sour with a final didactic statement: “Because it was much more fun to do things … / together!” Bowles' dynamic portrayal of this fowl with a temper makes Mary an engaging queen of the barn. Splashes of golden feathers dance with robust red accents. Scraggly chicken-scratches define each defiant cluck. Mary throws herself into each fit with abandon (complete with wattle-shaking screams) and then looks for a reaction. When the gang disappears, Mary throws her beak between her legs in search of an audience.

The glib ending notwithstanding, Mary's humorous tactics make her one of the more appealing barnyard brats around. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-58925-110-6
Page count: 24pp
Publisher: Tiger Tales
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2012


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