In Fliess’ update, Mary is an inventive scientist, but she’s a lonely one.
“Mary had a little lab. / She tested and created. / While other kids were at the park, / she built and calculated.” The window of her lab provides views of the kids’ fun, and they inspire her to make a friend. Literally. She bikes to a farm for a snip of wool and heads back to use her latest invention: the Sheepinator. The resultant pet is everything she could hope for, not only providing companionship, but also helping out around the house and lab. And when he follows her to school, the kids all ask for their own wooly friends. What could possibly go wrong? Bouloubasis’ hysterical illustrations show the chaos that ensues, but the scientist and her new human friends think of a clever solution that leaves the whole town satisfied…and warm. Fliess’ verses include enough of the original poem (but tweaked) to tickle readers’ funny bones, and the rhyme and rhythm are spot-on. Mary is a wild-haired white redhead who is depicted as safety-conscious (bike helmet, ear protection, rubber gloves, etc.); the other kids are a diverse group. Most diverse (and somewhat distracting) of all are the noses on their faces—all sizes, shapes, and colors.
Girl science power and new friendships make for a good combination. (Picture book. 4-8)