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Mary Mary by Joan G. Robinson was one of my own favourite books as a child. Joan G. Robinson is probably better known for her series of books about Teddy Robinson, but in Mary Mary I think she surpasses herself with her gentle humour and her ability to capture what makes small children tick. I have kept my copy from when I was a child, and my son, Oscar is currently reading it to me, a chapter a night. He was put off originally by the girly cover and had to be bribed into reading the first story to me (a biscuit is a very useful tool), but since then has happily read me a chapter ever since. He laughed so much reading the first story that he actually cried and had to put the book down.


I am delighted to say, in looking for a link for this book on Amazon, that the book is currently in print again, after having been out of print for a long, long time. I am rather hoping they also decide to reprint the follow up volume, More Mary Mary, as I have never been able to find a copy and I would very much like to read it.

Mary Mary is the youngest of a long line of brothers and sisters all beginning with M. There is Meg and Martyn and Mervyn and Miriam, and in their eyes, Mary Mary is very much at the bottom of the pecking order. Mary Mary is, as her name suggests, quite contrary, and the stories show how with a little native cunning and a lot of wit, Mary Mary manages to twist every situation round to her own advantage and end up on top of the heap, despite her brother and sister’s best efforts.

Mary Mary is an absolute delight, whether she is going visiting, wearing a tea cosy and her mother’s shoes, or figuring out ways to keep the shabbiest handbag in the world (burying it in the sand pit), or taking her pet mouse (toy) Moppet to task, for things she has done herself. She is like a slightly feistier version of My Naughty Little Sister, but if you like the My Naughty Little Sister stories, you will love Mary Mary, and I don’t know a single child, boy or girl, who doesn’t love the My Naughty Little Sister stories, so I am very glad that Mary Mary is back in print.

The book contains beautiful line drawings by Robinson which really bring the stories to life.

This book is perfect for reading to children aged five and up, boys and girls (if you hide the girly cover), and great for independent readers aged seven and up, although they might need help with the vocabulary as it is a little old fashioned in places, given that it was first published in 1957.