Mary Had a Little Lab – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Looking for the perfect read aloud? Look no further. Here’s a science-y, humorous twist on “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Mary may be a scientific genius, but she has no friends.

So she sets out to create a pet, something that will “make her life complete.” Her invention, a “sheepinator,” turns out to be a “woolly duplicator” par excellence, and her classmates all ask for a sheep of their own.


Soon, Mary’s world is overrun with sheep and friends who try to help her figure out what to do with all those woolly critters.

Gotta say there’s one perfect line (transformed from the nursery rhyme) that’s absolutely brilliant. And I didn’t see it coming…or—ah—going.

But what to do with all these sheep? Well….one must make a new invention…one that will take advantage of all that woolly fleece.

This is a terrific book for the little inventors in your life, or for showing how friends can be made in the process of helping others.

Title: Mary Had a Little Lab

Author: Sue Fliess

Illustrator: Petros Bouloubasis

Publisher: Albert Whitman, 2018

Ages: PreK-3rd grade

THEMES: STEM, friendship, Girl Power

For more perfect picture books, check out Susanna Hill’s Blog.

16 thoughts on “Mary Had a Little Lab – Perfect Picture Book Friday

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      It has all the elements, humor, tie-in with a nursery rhyme, STEM, girl power, friendship, some clever rhymes that are spot on, and a funny ending. The page-turns and pacing are perfect. The illustrations add to the humor. Yes, this one has many things going for it. I’m looking forward to reading your perfect picture book! Cheers!

  1. Ste J says:

    This sounded really fun, anything that gets kids interested in science is always good in my book but when you add in sheep (who don’t seem comical but always are) it is certainly a book that adults would enjoy too. Children’s books are so underrated.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      I agree. Especially picture books. Many thing that good picture books, and some extraordinary ones, are easy to write. Nothing could be further from the truth. They’re as compressed as poetry, using many of poetry’s techniques, and the author also has to leave room for the illustrator to tell the story without just reflecting exactly what the author has said. It leaves much room for irony, additional story threads, and lots to discover on re-reading. It’s quite the art form. Many picture books have taken years to develop.

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