Reviews for Scary Mary


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Mary the chicken works very hard at being scary, but once she has driven everyone out of the farmyard, she gets lonesome. Oddly (and perhaps not very believably), the other animals don't seem to mind much; when she asks to join their game, they respond with a resounding "YES!" The amusing illustrations give Mary plenty of personality, and the distinctive typeface adds pizzazz.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 February #2
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) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 March #3

Scary Mary's bark is definitely worse than her bite--after all, she doesn't have any teeth. Mary is an antisocial chicken who does everything she can to keep the other animals on the farm away from her. She puts up "Keep Out" signs, erects gates, holes up in a private fort, and hoards the sunflower seeds. But no matter how unpleasant her behavior, the farm's friendly dog, cow, sheep, goose, duck, and three chicks still want to make friends with her. British author Bowles, in her children's book debut, depicts Mary's unsuccessful attempts to look scary as she squawks at the other gentle animals (with scattered sunflower heads and red feathers flying, Mary's path of destruction almost resembles a crime scene). Finally, the other animals go scurrying, but Mary realizes that doing everything alone can get lonely. Bowles subtly hints at parallels between the barnyard and the playground, creating a sympathetic character in moody Mary, while commenting on the importance of give and take in friendships. Her loosely outlined watercolors are equally effective at portraying Mary's tantrums and the other animals' more placid emotions. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Scary Mary's bark is definitely worse than her bite--after all, she doesn't have any teeth. Mary is an antisocial chicken who does everything she can to keep the other animals on the farm away from her. She puts up "Keep Out" signs, erects gates, holes up in a private fort, and hoards the sunflower seeds. But no matter how unpleasant her behavior, the farm's friendly dog, cow, sheep, goose, duck, and three chicks still want to make friends with her. British author Bowles, in her children's book debut, depicts Mary's unsuccessful attempts to look scary as she squawks at the other gentle animals (with scattered sunflower heads and red feathers flying, Mary's path of destruction almost resembles a crime scene). Finally, the other animals go scurrying, but Mary realizes that doing everything alone can get lonely. Bowles subtly hints at parallels between the barnyard and the playground, creating a sympathetic character in moody Mary, while commenting on the importance of give and take in friendships. Her loosely outlined watercolors are equally effective at portraying Mary's tantrums and the other animals' more placid emotions. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 May

PreS--Scary Mary, a chicken, is very protective of her barnyard. She rules the roost and will not allow the other farm animals near. When they ask her to play, she scares them away until she is completely alone. When she has the barnyard to herself, she realizes that she is very lonely. Finally she asks the other animals if she can join them, and they agree to let her play. Even though characters are portrayed as barnyard animals, young children will relate to the theme of learning to get along. The layout places simple text among the humorous illustrations in an appropriate manner. One disappointment in an otherwise satisfactory story is the statement that "she squawked and clucked and crowed." Many young readers will know that chickens don't crow; roosters do. The narrative is enhanced by colorful and cartoonlike watercolor and ink illustrations that reflect the action of the story.--Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA

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