Cover image for Hurry, hurry, Mary dear
Hurry, hurry, Mary dear
Bodecker, N. M.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
28 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
A woman frantically rushes to prepare for the fast-approaching winter while her husband sits idly by.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.0 0.5 32027.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3552.O33 H82 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Hurry, hurry, Mary dear fall is over, winter's here. Not a moment to be lost, in a minute we get frost! In an hour we get snow! Drift like houses! Ten below! So begins this hilarious nonsense rhyme by a much-loved writer who won wide critical acclaim and a devoted audience during his lifetime. Now this poem has been illustrated in full color by Erik Blegvad, an old friend of Bodecker's and the only person besides himself that he would allow to interpret work. Poor Mary is the person who must make all the preparation for winter in a frenzied crescendo of activity -- "Churn the butter, smoke the hams, can tomatoes, put up jams" -- leading up to a very funny, very fitting, ending. Illuminated by Bodecker's rare imagination, his glorious sense of the absurd, and his firsthand knowledge of country living, all beautifully matched by Erik Blegvad's wonderous watercolor paintings, this is a book to delight young readers and their elders again and again.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. A rhyme done by Bodecker ("Let's Marry Said the Cherry") more than 20 years ago is here illustrated by his friend, the illustrious Blegvad, and verse and images work in tandem as easily as they must have when both men shared the same studio. A sinewy, white-haired, adorable matron, with axe and pot and shovel and stove, responds to her spouse's exhortations: "Hurry, hurry, Mary dear, / fall is over, winter's here" to "churn the butter, smoke the hams, can tomatoes, put up jams," along with knitting and stoking and oiling and whatnot. The charming illustrations show Mary performing all these activities and growing increasingly frazzled and besmirched, until, in the end, she gives her idle husband his comeuppance with the tea and donuts he has requested, although not in the way he might have chosen. The watercolors are full of the silver-gilt light of early winter, and gorgeous details are worth poring over: tomato plants drawn like lace and green, white, and purple turnips the size of pumpkins. Blegvad's foreword gracefully recalls their long friendship and Bodecker's death more than a decade ago. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-In one of the poet's best-known nonsensical rhymes, indefatigable Mary, a slight but steady old woman, rushes about preparing the household for winter, inside and out, while her idle husband sits by and fusses about the changing season. As she toils, her wispy white hair escapes from its bun and her ire rises until she reaches the end of her rope and retaliates. Blegvad has taken the poem and turned it into a charming picture book in loving tribute to his poet friend. Using Bodecker's own clever, expressive line drawings [see Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear! And Other Nonsense Poems (McElderry, 1976)] as the basis for his illustrations, the artist has enlarged each one to a full-page watercolor painting, adding several scenes and lots of endearing details, including a ubiquitous black cat. A visual and whimsical delight.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.