If you’ve been following Pretty Books for a little while, you’ll know that I absolutely love old children’s stories. I’ve previously reviewed Betsy-Tacy and What Katy Did. I love how charming they all are, how quaint the language often is, and how different they are to the ‘modern’ (!) childhood I experienced. (I’m afraid there were no buying tiny chicks for a penny for me!) So when I saw that Mary-Mary was being republished, even though I hadn’t heard of it before, I added it to my wishlist straight away.
Mary-Mary is a collection of short stories, originally published in 1957, about a girl who is the youngest of five children. There’s Mary-Mary, Mum and Dad, plus her older brothers and sisters: Miriam, Martyn, Mervyn and Meg (and not forgetting her little pet toy mouse, Moppet). But unfortunately her family sometimes does not appreciate how creative, funny and smart their youngest member is. They think she’s far too little to be involved in anything they’re doing and will often tell poor Mary-Mary to go away and stop bothering them.
Mary-Mary is a lovely collection of witty and charming stories about Mary-Mary’s mischievous adventures, accompanied by original illustrations that bring the tales to life. Mary-Mary is one of the most adorable little girls I’ve come across in fiction for a while. I loved her determination and uncanny ability to dismiss her siblings when they try to put her down, and she really does say some enchanting things:
“It’s much nicer being on the inside looking out,” she said. “Nicer than what?” said Mr Bassett. “Being on the outside looking in,” said Mary-Mary.
“Oh, go away!” said Meg. “Yes. Good-bye”, said Mary-Mary.
Mary-Mary is a lovely little thing who sometimes gets up to no good and embarrasses her brothers and sisters, but often with surprising and delightful outcomes, from dressing up as a lady – Miss Muffin – who likes being invited to tea, to going on a mission to earn threepence to buy an ice lolly. If you’ve read books like the old school stories by Enid Blyton or Milly-Molly-Mandy, you’ll love this wonderful collection. Don’t tell me you’re too old!
If you’ve read any children’s classics, do let me know as I’m always on the look out for more.