Monday, September 19, 2016

Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer, illus by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Mary had a little glam
that grew into a LOT
And everywhere that Mary went,
she wasn't hard to spot!

Mary likes to dress up. She isn't afraid of being unconventional (toward the beginning of the book, her mother discovers she's used a shower curtain as a sash) and she loves to accessorize: note the lamb-shaped purse that hints at the original rhyme off which the book is based. When Mary arrives at Mother Goose Elementary, she finds a dowdy bunch of classmates who are stunned by her fashion choices. But, Mary is a positive influence on her classmates.

So Mary offered fashion tips:
"More pink! More beads! More shine!
A hat for him and trim for her.
Go boa. It's divine."

Pretty soon, Mary's fashion sense has rubbed off on everyone -- the students, the principal, even the class pet. But, then Mary is faced with playground equipment. How will she be able to play with all of her accessories weighing her down? Mary handles recess with every bit as much style as she does the rest of the school day, in reverse. She strips off her accessories and runs to the equipment to play. No big deal.

Recommended - I didn't love the illustrations, at first, because they're a tiny bit busy, but then I started paying attention. It took me about 4 read-throughs before I realized Mary is a person of color. How did I miss that? I love it! There are not enough books with a main character of color for children. The other kids are also a nicely diverse bunch. As to the story itself, you can't help but love Mary's adaptability. She has a mind of her own but when faced with an obstacle, she just tosses off the things that are bogging her down and moves on. Go, Mary! I also liked all the little hints that Mary Had a Little Glam is based on "Mary Had a Little Lamb" - the sheep purse, the name of the school, the way the children are dressed a bit like they came straight out of Mother Goose days. Nicely thought out.

Also notable: Tammi Sauer has become one of my favorite authors of children's picture books, in recent years. Some other titles I've reviewed by Sauer:

Chicken Dance
Bawk and Roll
Your Alien

Side note: There will be no Monday Malarkey, today, due to a backlog of review books. I'll repeat this message if I manage to write more reviews. In the meantime, I'm happy to report that I've had a few good nights of sleep and I'm feeling human, again. Wahoo! Monday Malarkey will return, next week. I didn't receive any books, this week, so it would have been boring, anyway.

©2016 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

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