Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary Had a Little Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale was just what I was looking for and I should of known photo-illustrator Bruce McMillan would be part of my answer. To help promote early literacy nursery rhymes are high recommended by several experts for children to learn and work with language. There is also a growing concern that are children are not being exposed to them as much as they once were before coming to school. So, I've been searching and wondering if there are nursery rhymes done as single picture books without much success. The collection books often found are hard for young children to navigate with their early literacy needs.

From what I am finding at the moment there is not a lot of single nursery rhymes in picture book format until now with Mary Had a Little Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale. Bruce McMillan as he always does captures remarkable photographs to tell this story. In his afterward, you learn the colors in the book were chosen after the outfit for Mary was chosen, yellow overalls with bright pink and yellow striped shirt underneath. The Mary in this version wears glasses and Bruce McMillan felt it important for children to see more children wearing glasses so he worked his photography magic with filters and lighting to not have a reflective glare. I also liked how he used a male teacher. You also learn, to help with the coloring in the photos the sheep had a bath each morning in the farm house sink.

The afterward provides a history for the poem, Mary Had a Little Lamb. It was first published as Mary's Lamb. The verse has gone under some changes, it was published by William McGuffey without credit to Mrs. Hale. The history was interesting to read. If you know of any additional titles of nursery rhymes found as a single picture book I would love to have you share in the comments.

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