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Mary Had a Little Lamp

Mary Had a Little Lamp

5.0 4
by Jack Lechner, Bob Staake (Illustrator)

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Updating the classic rhyme with "appliance humor," gives this book a hilarious twist and a great new take on the "beloved transitional object" story. Mary has a little lamp that she takes everywhere: to school, the movies, the circus, the zoo, even a wedding. One day Mary heads off to summer camp without her bendy-necked lamp and discovers that life without a


Updating the classic rhyme with "appliance humor," gives this book a hilarious twist and a great new take on the "beloved transitional object" story. Mary has a little lamp that she takes everywhere: to school, the movies, the circus, the zoo, even a wedding. One day Mary heads off to summer camp without her bendy-necked lamp and discovers that life without a lamp isn't so bad! In fact, when Mary returns home, her little lamp stays on her shelf for good. Now what will she find instead?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
This parody of the rhyme about Mary and her lamb is a bit of delicious nonsense. This Mary loves her lamp, the "bendy gooseneck kind," and takes it everywhere with her, with some odd results. No one, not her parents nor the doctor, can understand why, but one summer, Mary is sent to camp. To everyone's amazement, she does not take the lamp. When she returns home, however, there is another silly surprise to end the jolly rhymes. Staake's visual narrative is just as nonsensical as the text. He uses geometric shapes and other mechanical drawing techniques, manipulated digitally, to tickle our funny bones. Mary strides boldly across the front of the jacket, lamp upheld, while on the back, critics like Humpty Dumpty and Little Bo Peep give their opinions of the book in hand. By the end of the story, we are almost ready to accept the decoratively styled silliness. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2- Mother Goose fans will delight in this offbeat interpretation of the classic nursery rhyme. Instead of a devoted shepherdess, Lechner's Mary is a sassy redhead with an unexplained fondness for her desk lamp. The singsong text imitates the more traditional verse beginning with the lines, "Mary had a little lamp-/The bendy, gooseneck kind./And everywhere that Mary went/She dragged the lamp behind." Despite the confused disapproval of her friends and family, Mary takes the beloved object everywhere, even to her cousin's wedding. ("'We told her she could have a dog-/She wanted this instead!'") Much to her parents' surprise, Mary does not insist on taking it with her when she goes to summer camp. While swimming, canoeing, and having fun, she outgrows her attachment to the lamp. However, when she returns home, she finds a more satisfactory companion-a toaster. The eclectic computer-generated cartoon illustrations are composed of clever combinations of geometric shapes to depict the characters and setting. On one spread, the child walks her lamp down a busy street of multicolored buildings. Traffic stops, curious neighbors peer out of windows, and pedestrians stare at the girl and her unusual pet. For an extra chuckle, young readers will enjoy perusing the brief make-believe reviews from other nursery-rhyme characters on the back cover. This book may be paired with Janet Stevens's And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (Harcourt, 2001), which plays with another nursery rhyme.-Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lechner's debut sets out to prove that cuddliness is not the only criterion children use in choosing a lovey. "Mary had a little lamp- / The bendy, gooseneck kind. / And everywhere that Mary went / She dragged the lamp behind." Mary takes it to school to learn spelling, sends it down the slide at the playground and even tucks it into its own miniature bed each night. Her friends, teachers and parents are all flabbergasted. In the end, though, Mary goes off to summer camp and, to the surprise of everyone, leaves the lamp behind. At Camp Wottalottaphun Mary learns "That she could have a lot of fun / Without the lamp around." Lechner's rhythm and rhyme are spot-on in adapting the beloved nursery favorite. Staake's computer artwork has kid-appeal, featuring stock characters, bold colors that extend even to skin and building facades and facial expressions that speak louder than words. Enjoyable fluff . . . but just to head off any copycats, parents may want to nail down the appliances. (Picture book. 3-8)

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
7.44(w) x 10.21(h) x 0.48(d)
AD620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

This is Jack Lechner's first children's book. He was a producer for The Fog of War and is the author of Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You: One Man, Seven Days, Twelve Televisions (Crown).
ILLUSTRATOR INFORMATION: Bob Staake is a cover illustrator for The New Yorker. He has co-authored and/or illustrated over 40 books, including Hello, Robots! and The Red Lemon.

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Mary Had a Little Lamp 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A new twist on an old classic -- this wonderfully witty rhyming tale has my daughter '22 months' and husband giggling and singing every evening. Our neighbors dropped in with their two children 'ages 2 & 6' and immediately were hooked on Mary's wacky ways.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have four children, ages two to ten, whose inclination to disagree on the relative merits of books is rivaled only by their collective hatred of unadulterated vegetables. But they all love 'Mary Had a Little Lamp' -- and so do I. For once, exhortations to 'Read it again!' leave me not aggrieved but delighted. Lechner's text binds unbridled goofiness to swinging iambic pentameter, and Staake's gorgeous illustrations are exuberant and hilarious. Mary is an imp for our age!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Our two girls LOVE this book! We received it as a gift and they are entranced by the illustrations. We love to read it to them so much that we ordered three more this holiday to share with friends kids! We definately recommend this light-hearted silly book for all!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in the bookstore and enjoyed it so much that I bought it to have at my house when my grandchildren visit. My granddaughter is here for an overnight stay, and I read it to her for the first time. We both laughed together over this cute story. I immediately came on Barnes and Noble website to see if Jack Lechner had authored any other children's books. Sorry to see this is the only. Hopefully, there will be more to come.