Hurry Hurry Mary Dear

N. M. Bodecker, Author, Eric Blegvad, Illustrator, Erik Blegvad, Illustrator
N. M. Bodecker, Author, Eric Blegvad, Illustrator, Erik Blegvad, Illustrator Margaret K. McElderry Books $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-81770-0
Hardcover - 118 pages - 978-0-689-50066-4
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-689-84596-3
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-22144-3
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Blegvad wittily refreshes his late friend and collaborator's waggish poem about a hardworking, much-put-upon wife and her hortatory husband with this masterfully illustrated edition. As he mentions in a foreword, Blegvad models his Mary on the pen-and-ink version drawn by Bodecker himself in his nonsense collection Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear! (reissued in 1987 and still in print); Blegvad, however, works in watercolors, splendidly reproduced here with a limpid clarity. The heroine, Mary, is a reedy woman. Her nose has a shape that would not be out of place on a snowman, and her white hair is tucked tidily into a bun--at least as the verse begins. Her husband delivers all the lines: ""Not a minute to be lost,/ in a minute we get frost!/ In an hour we get snow!/ Drifts like houses! Ten below!"" He puts Mary through her (nonstop) paces as the rhythms escalate: ""Churn the butter, smoke the hams,/ Can tomatoes, put up jams."" In the company of a black cat, Mary toils inside and outside her well-appointed home, oiling snowshoes, stoking fires, attending to sometimes ludicrous tasks (she ""strings the beans"" by hanging them on a clothesline). With each pause in the verse, Mary sags, her hair unraveling, her shoulders stooping, but she rallies with each new volley of rhyme. Of course, the husband, lolling in a rocking chair, gets his due in the end; what readers get is an absolute treat, two consummate artists making the most of a good joke. Ages 7-up. (Oct.)
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