Monday 17 January 2022

Mary Had a Little Lamb – What Really Happened

Mary Had a Little Lamb – What Really Happened by Amelia McInerney, illustrated by Natashia Curtin (Scholastic Australia) HB RRP $17.99 ISBN: 9781760663872

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Every child knows the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb – or do they? What if the writer ‘left the good bits out’? When the Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly goes ‘stark raving mad’, she starts eating every pet in town … and Little Bo Peep’s sheep have gone missing! It’s up to Mary to find the old lady and rescue the animals from her tummy (thank goodness ‘the beastly woman had no teeth and couldn’t chew’!).

Amelia McInerney turns literary conventions on their head in this rollicking rhyme aimed at kids aged four to seven. Rather than being a passive protagonist, Mary inspires youngsters with her dynamic ingenuity, strength, and bravery. Amelia’s hilarious tale twists and turns in unexpected ways, which is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats until they find out ‘What Really Happened’.

Natashia Curtin’s action-packed illustrations offer plenty for young eyes to look at. Slightly muted colours allow the detail and movement in each image to come to the fore. Mary rocks a Princess Leia vibe thanks to her hairstyle; this is a subtle visual reflection of her heroic courage and leadership in a time of crisis.

A magnificent mash-up with a surprising conclusion, Mary Had a Little Lamb – What Really Happened will tickle children’s funny bones every time the story is read. With each laugh they’ll learn that it’s okay to be bold and to use your brains – especially when standing up to an insatiable adversary.

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