Mary Wrightly, So Politely

Overview

Mary Wrightly is the best-behaved little girl around. She always politely says please and thank you and even “I’m sorry” when something isn’t her fault. But when a shopper comes between Mary and the blue elephant toy she wants to buy for her beloved baby brother, will Mary just let the woman walk away with it? Speak up, Mary! Monescillo’s charming illustrations capture the spirit of this gentle look at how asserting oneself is not rude, and even occasionally out-and-out ...

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Overview

Mary Wrightly is the best-behaved little girl around. She always politely says please and thank you and even “I’m sorry” when something isn’t her fault. But when a shopper comes between Mary and the blue elephant toy she wants to buy for her beloved baby brother, will Mary just let the woman walk away with it? Speak up, Mary! Monescillo’s charming illustrations capture the spirit of this gentle look at how asserting oneself is not rude, and even occasionally out-and-out necessary.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Pamela Paul
It's hard to depict a heroine who eschews attention, but Monescillo's keenly observed scenes make Mary's reticence heart-rendingly concrete…Sometimes you just have to tell people what you want. And what this smart, affecting and original story wants is some well-deserved attention.
Publishers Weekly
Are quiet, polite people saps? Our Internet flame-warring, frequently uncivil society seems to suggest that they are. But Bridges’s (Ruby’s Wish) succinct text and Monescillo’s (Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime) gorgeously saturated pastels on cardboard make a powerful, much-needed argument for the virtues of civility, handling knotty subjects with elegance and considerable style. Mary Wrightly is the kind of person who says “Excuse me” even when someone else is at fault. On a trip to a chaotic toy store to buy a present for her one-year-old brother, Mary responds with admirable restraint when “a handbag bonk her on the head” and Mama gets engrossed in a conversation. When it looks like the perfect stuffed animal present is getting away, Mary Wrightly summons her courage: “Excuse me, but that blue elephant is for my baby brother!” she says “so politely” yet firmly, as the typography escalates in size. The elephant is secured, baby brother is pleased (“Maaagaaa-gaaa!”), and Mary’s faith in politeness emerges unshaken—bringing to very satisfying close a nearly perfect parable about being true to oneself in a rough-and-tumble world. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Shannon Associates. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"A powerful, much-needed argument for the virtues of civility . . . a nearly perfect parable about being true to oneself in a rough-and-tumble world."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Understated and sunny itself, this picture book subtly prescribes behavior for situations dire and everyday. So, um, well, will you give it a read...please?"
Kirkus, starred review

"Mary, with her wavy blond hair and rosy pink cheeks, is an endearing character who learns when to speak up for herself."
School Library Journal

"Bridges' text employs a gentle rhythm and spare language to create a real story out of its underlying theme: being polite and assertive are both important."
Booklist

"Sometimes you just have to tell people what you want. And what this smart, affecting and original story wants is some well-deserved attention."
The New York Times Online

"This would be a fine picture book for a young girl whose good manners could use tweaking."
The Wall Street Journal

"This gently paced tale shows children there's room for both courtesy and confidence."
—Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness, starred review

"[Mary] is endearing in her shy sweetness."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
Mary is a little girl who always says "please" and "thank you." One day, Mary and her mother go to a toy store so Mary can buy a birthday present for her baby brother. On the way there, a boy steps on Mary's toe; she apologizes to him. At the toy store, the first and second stuffed animals that Mary picks out are taken by others while Mary's mother chats with a neighbor. When Mary chooses a blue elephant and another lady carries it off, Mary finally speaks up loud enough to be heard. "Excuse me, but that blue elephant is for my baby brother!" The lady says she is sorry and hands Mary the elephant. On the way home, an old man complements her on the elephant, and Mary responds, "Thank you very much, sir." She lets a little girl look at the elephant and then, once at home, gives it to her baby brother. He responds, "Maaagaaagaaa!" The colorful pastel pictures on textured board, show loveable children and flesh out the story. Mary is a very polite little girl who learns to speak up for herself during a day's outing. This book is for a select group of children. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—Mary Wrightly is a soft-spoken and polite child. She says "please" and "thank you" and never complains. As her brother's first birthday approaches, she wants to buy him a present. The store is crowded, and Mary tries to stay out of the way while her mother chats with a neighbor. While waiting, she spots several toys that she knows her sibling would like. After other shoppers snatch up a teddy bear and a fluffy duck, she sees a blue elephant with round pink cheeks. It has a sweet smile like her baby brother. But then another lady reaches for it, and Mary knows that she must speak up. "'Excuse me, but that blue elephant is for my baby brother!'" she says, her voice growing stronger with each word. The obliging lady gives it to her. At home, her brother crows with delight when Mary dangles the toy over his crib, and the elephant smiles down at him. Mary and her happy family are portrayed in jewel-toned and textured pastel on cardboard illustrations. The luminous drawings have a vibrant, tactile quality. The stuffed animals on display at the store appear especially plush and huggable. Mary, with her wavy blond hair and rosy pink cheeks, is an endearing character who learns when to speak up for herself. Team her up with Emily from Cindy Post Senning's Emily's Sharing and Caring Book (HarperCollins, 2008) for a gentle lesson on using good manners.—Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Mary Wrightly's so soft-spoken and well-mannered she sometimes gets overlooked, but when her polite passivity almost allows the perfect birthday gift for her baby brother to slip away, she pipes up. Vibrant pastel drawings on cardboard (with discreet digital retouching) delight with crinkly textures and radiantly rich pinks, reds and blues. Rounded inset scenes appear alongside full-bleed pages, adding visual interest to a simple story about a trip to the toy store. Empathetic illustrations successfully evoke little Mary's suppressed voice and her mounting anxiety as each toy she selects is snatched up by a more aggressive shopper. Mary's wide face beseeches with diminutive (almost recessed) eyes, nose and mouth, appropriately modest features for a shy girl who shrinks inward. At last, her great assertion comes with an enlarged font and an immense close-up of her moon face in an open-mouthed shout. Children who feel unheard when mommy chatters on the phone or when daddy clicks on the computer know exactly how mute Mary feels as she tugs on her mother's arm, hoarsely asking for help landing the gift. Every child will enjoy joining in on this book's irresistible refrain, repeated throughout: "Mary Wrightly, so politely." Understated and sunny itself, this picture book subtly prescribes behavior appropriate for situations dire and everyday. So, um, well, will you give it a read...please? (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547342481
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 974,069
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 10.06 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Shirin Yim Bridges is an award-winning author and the founder of Goosebottom Books. She lives in Foster City, California. Visit her website at

www.goosebottombooks.com

.

MARIA MONESCILLO is the illustrator of Myra Wolfe’s Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime, and has also worked as an animator. She lives in Askim, Norway.

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