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MARY AND HER LITTLE LAMB by Will Moses Kirkus Star


The True Story of the Nursery Rhyme

by Will Moses & illustrated by Will Moses

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Dec. 8th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-399-25154-2
Publisher: Philomel

The "real" story of Mary and her lamb, as the subtitle states, as told and illustrated in Moses’ familiar folk-art style.

Most people assume this poem is a Mother Goose rhyme, but this is not the case. It’s a true story of a little girl named Mary whose lamb followed her to school. In his foreword, Moses recalls the background of the tale and how he discovered it by chance. His narrative of the event as he imagines it follows, and the backmatter provides both the song and the history of the rhyme. Mary Elizabeth Sawyer was born in 1806 in Sterling, Mass., and attended the Redstone Schoolhouse in Sudbury, Mass. John Roulstone witnessed the lamb episode and wrote the first stanza of the poem. Later, in 1830, Sarah Josepha Hale published it and added three more stanzas. What lends quaintness to the tale are Moses’ rustic, oil paintings that pair nicely with the vintage tale. Each scene and wordless double-page spread is filled with details of bygone days to fascinate kids.

Not just an illustrated version of the rhyme, this is a fleshed-out account of a lamb’s tail/tale that all children and adults should know. (Picture book. 5-9)